THE SEPRONA wildlife protection division of the Guardia Civil has been involved in identifying the poisoners of protected birds.
There were two separate incidents but both appeared to have been performed by owners of farms using poison in order to kill Imperial eagles and kites, two protected species of raptors.
In the first case, officers found the body of an adult eagle in the Sierra de San Pedro in Caceres, followed by the corpses of two immature eagles in a nest.
Suspicious of the cause of these deaths, the bodies were sent for analysis and it transpired that at least one had eaten a poisoned pigeon which it is believed was prepared as bait.
Officers then called in a specially trained sniffer dog, able to find poisons which led them to a property where they arrested three people who had a collection of poisons and 80 prohibited traps.
If charged and convicted, those believed responsible could be jailed for up to two years and face a fine of €195,000.
In the second case, two dead kites were found on a farm together with a pesticide which had been banned in Spain and 2003 with which the birds had been poisoned. In addition, a number of prohibited traps were seized at the same location.
Two people are being investigated for this crime and if anyone is convicted, they could face fines of €48,000 for the death of this pair of protected birds of prey.