01/03/06 Poaching in Croatia

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Tracing down the poaching and smuggling of protected bird species that has been going on for many years:


Three years ago, Italian poachers killed 85,000 protected birds in the protected areas of north-eastern Croatia, for which the total compensation sum amounted to almost 14 million Euro. For the total amount of smuggled birds, the compensation value would amount to breathtaking 70 million Euro!

Unfortunately, all the efforts did not help significantly to stop this type of criminal activity; rather, poaching and smuggling of protected birds in and from Croatia are continuing. Illegal trading with birds is a very profitable business and, despite sporadic disclosures and punishments, it is becoming interesting to an ever greater number of criminals looking for a fast way of earning money. They smuggle birds that were killed in Croatia or some other country of Eastern Europe from or through Croatia to the Italian gastro-market.

The Law on the Protection of Nature protects 283 bird species in Croatia. According to the data from 2003, supplied by the Institute for Ornithology at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, almost half of the 375 bird species identified in Croatia is endangered, and one fourth of them is considered highly endangered.

Even though various governmental offices and relevant institutions, as well as the Croatian Hunters' Association, have more than once been informed about the permanent poaching and smuggling of protected birds and the shameless violation of several articles from the Hunting Law and a number of statutes, poaching and mass extermination of protected bird species are acquiring disastrous proportions and indicate an extreme state of anarchy.

Who is organising and participating in the depletion of protected birds and with what interest? What can we do in order to end the devastation of bird habitats and the disturbance of the eco-system that is already in crisis? When will the measures be taken and by whom in order to stop this criminal activity at last? How much longer will the so-called hunters' lobby remain untouched and who will be responsible, among other things, for the huge damage that this mass killing of animals is inflicting upon Croatian economy?

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