Concern over park poison
Ecologists suspect farmers may be targeting rabbits
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