THE JUNTA has reduced the use of poisoned bait against wildlife by almost 70%.

Poisoned baits have been used as a method of pest control for hundreds of years and are frequently used to kill animals that are regarded as detrimental to agriculture or hunting, such as wolves and raptors.

However, poison baits used to intentionally kill predators considered harmful to game species are often non-selective and therefore affect non-target species and pose a threat to biodiversity and especially to protected species such as bearded vultures, Egyptian vultures and Iberian imperial eagles.

The successful reduction of poisoned bait use against wildlife is largely due to the Junta’s implementation of a Specialised Canine Unit in the region.

This K9 unit uses dogs specifically trained to locate poisoned bait and have so far carried out more than 4,000 inspections across Andalucia.

In an official statement, the Junta has said that the use of dogs trained in detection of poisoned baits has made it possible to locate thousands of poisoned traps in Andalucia and at the same time prevent the death of numerous animal species.

During the past decade, approximately 7 000 endangered animals have been killed by poison in Spain, including eagles, kites, vultures and brown bears.

Poison also kills hundreds of pets every year and poses a risk to public health, as it may contaminate game species, such as rabbits, wild boar and partridge, which are, in turn, consumed by people.

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