More Birds Poached in Slovenia Than Expected

By , 23 May 2019, 12:06 PM News
Polenta ucelli (polenta with songbirds) Polenta ucelli (polenta with songbirds) Photo: Committee Against Bird Slaughter

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STA, 23 May 2019 - Based on the so far collected data on bird poaching in Slovenia between 2000 and 2018, the Bird Wathcing Association (DOPPS) has determined that up tp 50,000 Slovenian birds are poached or killed every year. Slovenia thus appears to be not only a transit country for bird smugglers but also a source country. 

Before the recently gathered data, the association used to assume that Slovenia was some sort of an oasis where birds were safe from poaching, particularly compared to Italy and the Balkan countries.

"After six months of collecting data, we've determined that offences against birds are more prevalent in Slovenia than we used to believe," said the association.

Among poached birds, there are also endangered nesting birds which are on the threatened species list, other critically endangered bird species, vulnerable species or near-threatened ones.

The association has also registered hunting violations, with game birds being hunted out of hunting seasons.

According to the DOPPS, the majority of birds poached per year are killed with firearms (between 3,000 and 25,000). The rest are either caught using other methods (8,000-25,000) or poisoned (100-500). Between 41,000 and 205,000 birds are smuggled across Slovenian borders every year.

So far, the association has registered 262 cases of bird poaching in Slovenia, including 80 cases of unlawful caging and trade, 71 cases of poaching with the use of firearms, 64 cases of smuggling across the state border, 39 cases of poaching and 8 cases of bird poisoning.

Most of the birds slaughtered with firearms are grey herons, cormorants, or great white herons. Some of them are also birds of prey, including buzzards, sparrowhawks, golden eagles and peregrine falcons, or owls, such as eagle-owls and long-eared owls.

On the other hand, songbirds are the most common victims of poaching using other methods, including traps, nets and birdlime.

Another issue is illegal removal of swallow nests, particularly the removal of house martin nests during the nesting season.

The association has also detected a number of massive bird poisoning cases, which are mostly a result of negligent, amateurish or unlawful use of poison and its disposal in nature.

Along with Croatia and Hungary, Slovenia is one of the main transit countries for bird poachers and their organised crime of smuggling tens of thousands of birds to Italy every year.

Trafficking of protected birds in Slovenia is carried out by individuals who poach birds abroad and then mostly sell them to restaurants.

The DOPPS has urged the public to contribute to its data collection by disclosing any information on bird poaching activities or giving anonymous tip-offs. One can also inform the association in case they find an injured bird suspected of being shot.

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