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Griffon Vultures at risk from poison baits

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Wildlife protection NGOs have warned that Cyprus’ Griffon Vulture population could be wiped out unless much more is done to stamp out poison baits.

The dire warning from BirdLife Cyprus, Terra Cypria, and others came as a report was published on Thursday which found that within eight months patrols uncovered 34 kilos of poisoned bait.

It is understood that farmers and others leave out poisoned bait to kill dogs and foxes, however, many other animals along the food chain are also hit.

The NGOs said that despite the use of such baits being punishable by up to three years in prison along with a fine of €20,000, there are still far too many animals being killed.

They highlighted that those found guilty of causing harm to protected species – such as the vulture – face a fine of €500,000 and a prison sentence of up to ten years.

The report was compiled by two teams of patrol officers who scour the countryside four to five times a week in hopes of preventing animals being harmed by poisoned baits.

They stated that within eight months they conducted about 300 patrols and responded to 65 calls.

During that time, they uncovered five poisoned baits and recorded 44 incidents involving 31 dead animals suspected of poisoning.

They found about 380 pieces of bait, about 34kg, which appeared to contain poison.

Samples sent for analysis confirmed the use of banned substances such as methomyl and carbofuran.

They detailed that dogs accounted for 45.2 per cent of the poisoned animals they found, followed by foxes (12.9 per cent), vultures (9.7 per cent), hedgehogs (6.5 per cent) and others.

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