An international work meeting, devoted to the illegal use of poison against wildlife took place in Sofia on 25.04.2017. The meeting was held within the Vultures Back to LIFE14 NAT/BG/640 project.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Spanish ministry of environment, the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF), as well as one of the greatest Spanish experts in analysis of poisonous substances – Rafael Mateo Soria. The organizers from VCF had also invited representatives from a lot of Bulgarian institutions – Ministry of Environment and Waters, National Service for Nature Protection, Ministry of Interior, Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, District Agencies on Food Safety (Sliven, Blagoevgrad, Montana, Sofia), Regional Inspectorates of Environment and Waters (Stara Zagora, Blagoevgrad, Haskovo, Sofia), Union of Hunters and Fishermen in Bulgaria, NGOs (Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, Green Balkans, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, Birds of Prey Protection Society, Wildlife Rescue Centre at Green Balkans), experts in analysis of poisonous substances and jurists.
A retrospection of the problem with the use of poison in Bulgaria (from the time the use of poison was legal), as well as analysis of the contemporary situation (when the use of poison is strictly banned) were presented. FWFF presented the most recent hot case in the Kresna Gorge, where the illegal use of poison caused the death of between 20-30 Griffon Vultures. BSPB, BPPS and Green Balkans presented briefly the situation in the Eastern Rhodopes, Vrachanski Balkan and the Eastern Balkan Mountains.
The Spanish experts presented in detail the institutional scheme in operation in Spain to combat, prevent and sanction the cases of illegal use of poisonous baits. The scheme and specific actions in collecting evidence and analyzing samples were also presented.
The discussions, with the participations of all attendants, unfortunately revealed that there is no clear action plan in case of finding of poisoned wild or domestic animals. The very institutions get practically confused and cannot adequately react and handle such situations. This results in the poisoning of more animals. The lack of sanctions and effective punishment for such violations create a sense of impunity and are a prerequisite for new crimes.
Last but not least, the team of the Vultures Back to LIFE14 NAT/BG/649 Project is ready to form a wide coalition, which will work on the permanent overcoming of the problem within the country.