Forty-seven wild animals found poisoned in Evros

A record number of animals, most of them wild, were found dead in the northeastern border region of Evros, a local environmental group said on Tuesday, adding that their death was the result of poisoned baits.

The Society for the Protection of Biodiversity of Thrace (EPVTH) said the 47 animals were discovered during a 10-day “titanic effort” by two environmental groups to find and collect all poisoned animals, as they pose a threat to the local ecosystem if eaten by other wildlife.

The operation was carried out by one team from EPVTH and two from the Natural Environment Agency, who were joined by officials from the Forestry Department of Alexandroupoli, the Management Unit of the Evros Delta and Dadia National Parks and the vice-mayor of Feron to scan an area of approximately five square kilometers.

The teams collected the carcasses of 18 western marsh harriers, 14 jackals, 4 foxes, 3 hawks, 2 dogs, 1 nocturnal bird of prey and five other mammals that could not be identified due to their advanced decay (either jackals or foxes).

Most of them were located just a few kilometers from the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli National Park and the Special Protection Zone of the Natura 2000 network.

“The illegal use of poisoned baits in the countryside is unfortunately widespread. It is indicative that just two days after the completion of the clean-up in Feres, a cinereous vulture was found dead from poisoned bait in the mountains of Nea Santa in the Rhodope range due to a transmitter he was carrying,” EPVTH said.

“The enormous extent of the Feres incident proves the need for people to immediately alert the competent authorities in the event that they become aware of the existence of poisoned baits or a [poisoned] animal to avoid this chain of poisoning,” said Elizavet Kret, operator of the Special Unit Detection of Poisoned Baits at EPVTH.

The incident is being investigated by the forest office of Alexandroupolis, in cooperation with the competent Directorate of Agricultural Economy and Veterinary Medicine of Evros, which sent samples for toxicological analyses.