Urgent ban of a pesticide needed after poisoning of protected white-tailed eagles in Serbia

Posted on 26 February 2014    
Four white-tailed eagles were poisoned near Apatin in Serbia
© Jaroslav Pap
Belgrade – Four species of the rare and strictly protected white-tailed eagle were poisoned last week in a special nature reserve near Apatin in Serbia, WWF and the Regional Institute for the Protection of Nature warned.

“This act is a serious wrong doing! WWF's latest count on the Upper Danube region has registered only 22 pairs of white-tailed eagle. The poisoning is a huge blow to the population of the species. Serious efforts to protect them are needed, the life of each bird is extremely valuable”, said Duska Dimovic, director of the WWF program in Serbia.

Not only the four birds were killed - the bodies of three buzzards, seven magpies and two jackals were also found. The area is one of the busiest nesting places in Serbia where over 260 different species of birds can be seen.

"Most probably the white-tailed eagles were poisoned by carbofuran (Furadan), a pesticide which is still on sale in Serbia, although it is prohibited in the EU and North America. It is a substance that in small doses may kill on the spot nearly every living being, and whose abuse is widespread in Serbia.

We appeal to the Civil Service, which is responsible for pesticides, to urgently ban the import and sale of products containing carbofuran and to strictly control the ban”, warns Marko Tucakov, an ornithologist from the Regional Institute for the Protection of Nature.

The death of the white-tailed eagles inside the Special Nature Reserve and the internationally significant Ramsar site Upper Danube is an unrecoverable loss. It seriously jeopardises the enormous efforts to protect these strictly protected species. The penalty for killing a white-tailed eagle in Serbia is around 4,000 EUR.

This is the largest bird of prey in the Danube region. It is located at the very top of the food chain and its habitat must be in good condition so that its population grows. Only constant active protection measures can guarantee the future of the white-tailed eagle. One of these is to prevent intentional and accidental poisoning.

DANUBEPARKS, an international network involving protected areas along the Danube, has developed an action plan for the conservation of the white-tailed eagle. Restoring wetlands along the river is also important since they are key feeding spots for these birds.

Cases of white-tailed eagles have recently been reported along the Danube in Austria.
Four white-tailed eagles were poisoned near Apatin in Serbia
© Jaroslav Pap Enlarge
White-tailed eagle.
White-tailed eagle.
© Mario Romulic Enlarge

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