The operations of the Forli Cesena Carabinieri Forestali concluded, in collaboration with Lipu ornithologists, on some wild bird farms in the province: 2,000 live birds have been taken from the wild, such as Thrushes, Blackbirds, Fielfdares and Larks, five people are reported to the judicial authorities, Some of the birds haven been already released in nature.
Over 2 thousand birds seized and 5 people are reported to the judicial authority. It is the result of a major operation that the Forli-Cesena, Carabinieri Forestali ,assisted by Lipu ornithologists and National Health Service veterinarians, carried out in some of this wild bird breeding farms in the province of Forli-Cesena this year.
The seized birds belonged to the species Song thrush, Redwing, Blackbird, Fieldfare and Lark. Specifically, the Officers of the Carabinieri Forestali checked several wild bird breeders that had many birds in stock for sale without closed identification rings that, by law, must be affixed to the legs of the bird within 10 days of birth and irremovable with the growth of the bird, and therefore attesting to the lawful origin of the specimens by virtue of the unique identification code stamped on each ring.
Other birds were provided with rings larger than allowed, which could be removed easy and therefore not suitable to ensure that the specimens were born in captivity on these farms
Several birds carried rings, which were enlarged to fit to the legs of adult animals that were illegally caught in the wild with nets or traps, and then tightened around the legs to return the original shapes of the ring.
A further illegal practice is obtained by applying to the paw of the animals genuine rings but with larger sizes, suitable for larger seized bird species: in this case the greater internal and external diameters allowed the rings to fit adult animals .
The illegally marked birds are falsely registered as “born on the farm” on the loading and unloading registers used by the individual farms and then sent for sale for ornamental purposes, as live decoys in the hunting season, as breeding animals for other breeding farms or to be used in ornithological exhibitions for exhibition purposes.
During the searches carried out, pliers and presses were also found and seized, one still dirty with blood, used for the illicit operations of narrowing the rings and altered rings.
These illicit practices are caused by specific economic interests: breeding and rearing wild birds in captivity is particularly difficult, expensive and time consuming and therefore it is common among some breeders the illicit practice of acquiring adult specimens on the black market of wild birds, illegally caught in the wild with nets, traps and other illicit means, and then mark the already adult animals with the identifying marks of their breeding as described above, register them as “new born in breeding” on the load registers and discharge and as such sell them.
This trade is particularly profitable AS the prices of individual specimens can reach several hundred euros; the total value of the seizure is estimated at around 150,000 euros. Many of the birds seized during the controls were already released in nature but some were unable to fly and were taken to the “Il pettirosso” recovery center in Modena for rehabilitation treatments and will be released as soon as fit to fly.
- Date of seizure: March 1, 2019
- Numbers of seized birds: 2000
- Country: Italy
- Species: Passerines (songbirds)