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Israel’s Poisoned Vultures Case Leads to Arrest of First Suspect

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Member of the Israel's Nature and Parks Authority holds a vulture. (Flash90/Uri Lenz)

Israeli border police arrested a suspect in the deaths of griffon vultures on the Golan.

Israeli media extensively covered the mysterious deaths by poison of eight griffon vultures on the Golan Heights. On Monday, Israeli Border Police announced they had detained a suspect, a man in his 30s from the Bedouin village of Tuba-Zangariyye in the Galilee.

It was on Friday that the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Israeli Border Police were called to the scene of the crime.

It appears that the suspect poisoned a cow carcass to protect his cattle. Such indiscriminate methods have been used before to the detriment of Israel’s vulture population, which isn’t the intended target, but rather wolves and jackals.

Israel’s Kan news reports that 20 years ago there were 378 vultures in Israel. This past year the number stood at 47, a 61 percent decrease.

The poisoning sharply depletes the current vulture population on the Golan, which Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority has invested efforts in reviving. After the deaths of the eight, there remain only 13 on the Golan.

As the deaths occurred during the nesting period, the parks authority is concerned that eggs may also be lost.

In the wake of the poisonings, there have been fresh calls for increasing fines for poisoning wildlife and new legislation to deal with perpetrators.

Maariv reports that Knesset Member Miki Haimovitz of the Blue and White party, known for her animal rights advocacy, will present the “Eagles Law” on Monday aimed at protecting wildlife from similar poisonings.

“Eagles and wild animals are a significant Israeli natural resource,” MK Haimovitz said.

“The bill seeks to prohibit the use of poison and pesticides in circumstances where there is a risk of harming protected wild animals, because poisoning in open areas is the main cause of harm to the wildlife population,” she said, according to Maariv.

Similarly, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel wants tougher punishment for killing protected wildlife.

“The world is dealing with this phenomenon, but with us the fines are ridiculous and the government protects the farmers, not the wild animals,” said Dan Alon to Maariv. He is director of the bird watching center at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.

A ninth vulture that was poisoned is recovering.

             (World Israel News)

Read more at: worldisraelnews.com

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