By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias
Posted in Uncategorized
The incident occurred nearly three years ago, but it was not until last June when the prosecution presented its case before the judge, is awaiting trial. The story is priceless, especially in regard to the valuation of one of the last 200 Iberian Lynx left in the world.
Jaen Newspaper, July 17th 2011
“A couple of farmers from Andújar have the dubious honour of being the first people in the Jaen province (North West Andalusia) accused of killing a lynx. Allegedly poisoned baits placed on the farm to prevent pests from eating their chickens. The prosecutor asked for them two years in prison, the maximum penalty for such crimes. Bornizo, the lynx in question stopped moving the October 17, 2008. That was the information provided by the radio transmitter this 5 year old male lynx had installed around his neck to the Life Project technicians who are responsible for trying to save from extinction the 200 last specimens living in Sierra Morena . The animal was found dead near a chicken coop located in a place called Dehesa del Pilar, in the area of Las Viñas de Peñallana, very close to the limits of Sierra de Andujar Natural Park. When the Seprona (Servicio para la Protection de la Naturaleza – Service for the Protection of Nature- a section of the Civil Guard) officers inspected the farm discovered that it was “seeded” of poisoned baits. Apparently Francisco C. M. and his wife, Ramona P. L., had placed them to prevent pests from eating their animals. Just a month earlier, farmers had acquired twenty-seven chickens, six hens and a rooster which, according to the defendants, had been decimated by predators from the park.
According to prosecutors, the two defendants impregnated pieces of chicken meat and sardines with Aldicarb, a highly toxic product, whose sale and possession are banned since January 2008. The Prosecution also notes that both have knowledge of the subject as they are pesticide handling cardholders.
Presumably, these poison baits were placed in different parts of the farm, which was protected by two meter high fence hunting. His goal was to kill all the vermin that entered the coop in search of easy prey. In fact, the day Bornizo was found dead, the Civil Guard also found the body of a fox that had eaten poisoned meat. The Seprona confiscated nine baits anointed with Aldicarb in the vicinity of the farm. There was also a cage with a bait of chicken inside, a banned hunting method, as the prosecution recalled in the provisional indictment.
One of the curiosities of this case is that the prosecution requested to analyze the DNA of the poisoned meat found in the henhouse of Las Viñas de Peñallana in an attempt to relate the owner of the farm with these pieces of meat. There are no witnesses who saw Francisco or Ramona placing the baits in the field, however, genetic analysis shows that these pieces came from their henhouse.
Another interesting fact is the valuation made of the dead lynx. Iberian Lynx Life Project biologists think that is costs more than 115,000 euros. The valuation takes into account that the Iberian lynx is an endangered species, including in the National Catalogue of Endangered Species for over 20 years. At this time, governments have invested several hundred thousand euros to try and prevent this iconic animal to get extinct. In fact, the prosecution pointed out in the indictment that Bornizo was one of the 225 left of Iberian lynx and one of the 30 adult males in reproductive age, and that he had about 5 years of reproductive activity ahead. With his death the species world population decreased by 0.5%.
Compensation is only one of the requests to be made against the defendants if the Andújar Court decides to finally open trial against them. The penalties involved are serious. The Criminal Code stipulates between 4 and 24 months of prison for anyone who commits an outrage against a protected species, and refers specifically to be applied in the upper half way if the case has special significance. Fines can range from 60,000 to 300,000 euros, and besides the Junta de Andalucía (regional government board) would have to compensated, as owner of the animal, if accepted with the 115,000 estimated by Life.
No record of lynx deaths trials, although in recent years have been found a number of run over, shot, maimed by snares and poisoned lynx.
The trial, which will be held in a criminal court, is yet to date. We know only one similar precedent in Andalucía: a cattle keeper from Castril was sentenced to 18 months in prison for poisoning a Lammergeier released into the Sierra de Segura”