Monday, 21 May 2012


Published in the newspaper HOY 16.05.2012.

The Guardia Civil Nature Protection Service (Servicio de Protección de la Naturaleza de la Guardia Civil: SEPRONA) has arrested four people and accused another two of alleged involvement in an offence against the fauna. They are accused of setting snares and noose traps, forbidden hunting methods, for trapping threatened and protected species. The six plaintiffs are the gamekeepers and managers of three big-game hunting grounds in "Dehesa de los Barrancos", Peñalsordo (Badajoz).

The police caught the current gamekeeper red-handed setting out the snares and arrested him on the spot. The same forbidden practice was also used by the previous gamekeeper, who has also been arrested. Metal snares set on raptor perching points (rocks and tree trunks) were also found, some with remains of dead birds still attached. Among those identified were a Golden Eagle, four Eagle Owls, one Buzzard and an Egyptian Mongoose. The hunting grounds concerned fall within a protected area of the Natura 2000 network, listed as a Site of Community Interest (SCI) and Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA). The 2242 hectares of land occupied by the three hunting grounds were combed by police and agents from Extremadura's Environment Ministry on the days following the arrest. Sniffer dogs were used in the search to look for any poison bait but none was found. More than 30 snares and nooses were found, however, set up in passage areas, together with four unauthorised cage traps, one of them with live bait inside (a chicken). Many snares and wire nooses were also found in the gamekeeper's car and in the estate lodge.