Birds of prey in danger – latest cases of poisoned of birds of prey in Slovakia


1 PETÉNYI 23.03.18Raptor Protection of Slovakia – a Slovak NGO and associated beneficiary in LIFE PannonEagle project, reports about numerous recent cases of confirmed or suspected poisoning of bird of prey in the country. The latest cases are being investigated since 28th March. Near Tvrdošovce and Kolíňany municipalities dead bodies of 15 common buzzards, 2 western marsh harrier and one common raven were found.

Several days ago, during the late hours of 23 March 2018, we were documenting a case of the suspected poisoning of an Eastern imperial eagle in the Branč - Malý Cetín area in South West Slovakia. The scene was also investigated by the State Nature Conservancy of Slovak Republic, as well as the State Veterinary and Food Administration of the Slovak Republic.

The victim was Petényi, an eastern imperial eagle who was ringed as a chick in the Hungarian Matra mountain range in 2013. We found it thanks to information provided by Hungarian colleagues over the radio. In addition to Petényi, we also discovered dead foxes and six common buzzards. In 2016, we were delighted that Petényi chose to nest in the surroundings of Nové Zámky with a young male and they performed their mating flights there.

At that time Petenyi was still very young but this year she was able to nest and raise her own juveniles, if she could avoid being killed. On the basis of a call for help from the public for information, important in the investigation process, many people responded. Unfortunately, we learned about another shocking case in this way. March 24-26 was another crime scene in the neighborhood of Neded and Zemné investigated. Here it was confirmed that four White-tailed Eagles, a protected species, had also been killed. One of the dead White-tailed Eagles was the young of a well-known nest in the area that we had ringed in 2016. Two of the dead eagles were adults who were raising their offspring, and subsequent checks of the nest in the process of gathering evidence, revealed another two dead hatchlings. Altogether six White-tailed Eagles were killed, most probably poisoned. In 2017, the nesting of only 21 pairs of White-tailed Eagles, a rare and endangered species, was recorded in Slovakia.

At the beginning of March 2018, 6 dead buzzards, several foxes and mites, were found; all with a reasonable suspicion of having been poisoned, in the municipality of the village Lakšárska Nová Ves.

At the end of 2017, a poisoned Golden Eagle was found in Diakovce. It was a female by the name of Zuzana - one of the 9 eagles that were tagged in Slovakia in 2017.

All cases are being dealt with by the Raptor Protection of Slovakia, in co - operation with the State Protection of Nature and the appropriate veterinary authority.
The presence of a dangerous, banned substance which caused the poisoning, has been proven by expert analysis. The last two cases are awaiting the results of the investigations, but the circumstances of the findings, and experience so far, have undoubtedly indicated a reasonable suspicion of the same cause of death. The social value of the eastern imperial eagle and the White-tailed Eagle is 5,990 Euros. Since 2012, human hatred has claimed over 60 victims of poisoning in a group of protected bird species. They died as a result of eating poisoned bait, and, in rarer cases, by the chemicals used in agriculture or lead intoxication. The social value of these birds exceeds the figure of 150 thousand Euros!


In addition to the three eastern imperial eagles in this period, 7 White-tailed Eagles, one golden Eagle, three Red Kites (the whole population in Slovakia is only 10 pairs) and five Peregrine Falcons have been lost in this way. Apart from birds of Slovak origin, we have also found dead victims from the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Poland. These numbers are alarming! For example, the population of Eastern Imperial Eagles in Western Slovakia has not grown for ten years because they are being intensively killed, especially in the lowlands. The perpetrators are infamous for killing foxes who are often their primary targets for poisoning. Unfortunately, even birds of prey are seen by some people as food competitors, and they are unjustly blamed for low levels of game species. At the same time, there is a drastic transformation of the landscape through road kill and the lack of shelters or food resources for animals. Since last year, the European Union, in cooperation with the police, has supported the LIFE Pannon Eagle Project. It is also aimed at addressing similar cases in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria and Serbia. The top priority now is ensuring the survival of rare nesting species and preventing their futher killing.


Another eastern imperial eagle with the origin in Slovakia was found poisoned in Hungary on 27th March 2018. It was an individual ringed in Eastern Slovakia in 1995 (23 years ago).


The survey of area and investigation of the cases is carried out also under the LIFE Pannon Eagle project, implemented with the support of European union. The active nests are being guarded under the project and surveys of selected areas are in place.

English translation: the Bridge



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