The Carabinieri Forestali has discovered a criminal organization in Corigliano Calabro (Cosenza Province, Calabria Region). The investigation was carried out by the Environmental Police Investigation Group Nucleo Investigativo di Polizia Ambientale, the Carabinieri Forestali of Cosenza and the Carabinieri Stations of Corignano, Rossano and Acri coordinated by the Prosecutor office of Castrovillari.
Following a long investigation which included surveillance, shadowing and controls, these Enforcement bodies uncovered a illegal hunting tour operation that offered northern Italian poachers the opportunity to travel to the Ionian coast of Calabria to shoot any kind of birds (most of them protected). The local organizations offered the support of local people who organized accommodations, guiding and the shipping (on board of unknowing scheduled busses) of the killed birds.
Most of the shipment were to addresses in Northern Italy, in the provinces of Vicenza, Padua, Brescia and Bergamo where the ‘Polenta e Osei’ (polenta and small birds) is still a popular dish; the area in Northern Italy is the core of a ‘Poaching Blackspot’ identified by the National Action Plan against illegal killing of birds.
Four people were investigated while loading 4 boxes full of dead protected species on a bus heading toward Northern Italy. The boxes contained 2795 birds of about 20 species, mostly protected (Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Serin, Buntings, Brambling, Woodcock, Teal, Starling, Skylark, Robin, Blackcap, Blackbird, Jay, Great Tit and Blue Tit)
A search of a storage facility owned by one of the people searched resulted in further 330 dead protected birds, 28 shotguns and numerous ammunitions apparently offered as a service to the visiting poachers from Northern Italy.
- Date of seizure: January 26, 2018
- Numbers of seized birds: 3125
- Country: Italy
- Species: Passerines (songbirds)