Con­cern over park poi­son

Ecol­o­gists sus­pect farm­ers may be tar­get­ing rab­bits

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - News - Awatkins@cb­news.es

By Alex Watkins ECOL­O­GISTS have found rat poi­son in La Mata-Tor­re­vieja nat­u­ral park and the Car­riza­les de Elche wet­lands, prompt­ing con­cerns that its use may be wide­spread in farm­ing.

A mem­ber of the friends of the south Ali­cante wet­lands (AHSA) found it at the en­trance to La Man­zanilla pond in the Car­riza­les, which the as­so­ci­a­tion owns and re­stored.

There was a small bag con­tain­ing a blue prod­uct which turned out to be rat poi­son, and nearby on the premises there were at least 20 more dis­trib­uted around the routes that rab­bits take through the veg­e­ta­tion.

The ecol­o­gists noted that lay­ing poi­son in nat­u­ral spa­ces is an of­fence and they have re­ported it to the Guardia Civil en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vice (SEPRONA).

Co­in­ci­den­tally that same day AHSA mem­bers found tablets of rat poi­son by the Tore­vieja salt lake at the edge of some crops by a salt marsh.

Dozens of tablets were spread around and this was re­ported to the park au­thor­i­ties.

AHSA spokesman Ser­gio Ar­royo said they think the rat poi­son is be­ing used to elim­i­nate rab­bits from farm­ing ar­eas.

“Al­though its im­pact on this species would be lim­ited, what it does to other wildlife is very neg­a­tive, as its can poi­son preda­tors that eat the poi­soned ro­dents, which could af­fect var­i­ous species of birds of prey,” he said.

“It could also af­fect south­west­ern wa­ter voles (ar­vi­cola sapidus), which are clas­si­fied as a vul­ner­a­ble species and one of their best pop­u­la­tions in the whole Va­len­cia re­gion lives in the Car­riza­les de Elche.”

AHSA warned that wide­spread use of rat poi­son in agri­cul­ture will dam­age ecosys­tems, and noted the Guardia Civil have made ar­rests for sim­i­lar in­ci­dents in other parts of Spain. A Ukrainian man has earned the du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion of be­ing caught with the most pack­ets of cig­a­rettes on a sin­gle per­son at Ali­cante-Elche air­port. The 27-year-old was car­ry­ing 2,350 pack­ets in his lug­gage, said a Guardia Civil spokesman. The air­port fis­cal of­fice learned that a pas­sen­ger with con­tra­band cig­a­rettes was fly­ing in from War­saw (Poland) to Va­len­cia but was di­verted to Ali­cante. Not hav­ing a de­scrip­tion of the sus­pect, of­fi­cers kept the bag­gage col­lec­tion area un­der dis­creet sur­veil­lance and saw a man who ‘looked like a typ­i­cal to­bacco smug­gler’. He spoke briefly to a woman and when both had col­lected their bags of­fi­cers moved in and asked for them to be opened. One of the man’s large bags was filled with cig­a­rettes of var­i­ous brands but the woman turned out to be un­con­nected with his scam. The spokesman said the cig­a­rettes could have fetched al­most €11,000 and the sus­pect faces court ac­tion for smug­gling.

Rat poi­son found in pro­tected ar­eas

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