Illicit trafficking of live lures, mainly used for hunting small birds, was discovered as part of an operation conducted by the Forestry Corps of the Province of Trento, and coordinated by the Deputy Prosecutor of the Trento Prosecutor’s Office Maria Colpani.
The operation involved several regions in northern Italy and neighbouring foreign states.
The operations resulted in: 18 arrests, with seven pre-trial detention orders in prison, one of them executed in Trentino, more than 50 people investigated and about 46 searches near and in Trentino, Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Marche, Campania and Tuscany, with more than 250 oficers of the Forestry Corps, of seven different departments, engaged in the field,also with the cooperation of the highway section of the State Police.
As part of the investigation, more than 20,000 bird specimens were seized, live and dead, and it emerged that an average 1,000 nests of song thrushes per week were visited and young birds were robbed in te region of Burgraviato and Val di Non (two locations in Trentino, North-East Italy).
From the base of operations in the core of Trentino, according to the indictment, the birds were then transferred to private residents of Lombardy and well-known traders of the province of Brescia, who then, in re turn, distributed the birds to individual buyers of the provinces of Brescia and Bergamo. Another significant part of the traffic was in Veneto and in particular the provinces of Vicenza and Treviso, the latter an important epicentre, with 19 searches and 5 arrests.
The worth of collected specimens was about 30 euros, per bird but after nursing and fattening it could be worth up to 300 euros. Estimates, therefore, speak of illicit trafficking worth several hundred thousand euros.
In addition to poaching, suspects are charged with receiving stolen goods, hunting theft, money laundering, mistreatment of animals and illegal possession of weapons. Also seized cash and different material, including tens of thousands of ammunition, weapons and some machines capable of tampering with identification rings.
Lipu’s Director, Danilo Selvaggi: “Lipu is proud of having been involved providing technical support to this wonderful operation and will continue supporting the Law Enforcement Agencies. The sun is setting on the use of live decoys and we are all happy for that. Heartfelt thanks to the Law Enforcement Agencies and on this occasion in particular to the Provincial Forestry Corps of Trento.”
- Date of seizure: December 16, 2019
- Numbers of seized birds: 20000
- Country: Italy
- Species: Passerines (songbirds), Song thrushes