Between 2015 and 2017 I had the pleasure of being involved with the people at Science for Environment Policy for the EU DG Environment, producing short explainer films for their newsletters going out to policy makers in Europe. These were equally challenging and fascinating short projects at the interface between science, policy and communication through video.

Combatting illegal poisoning of wild animals in Spain

Produced for EU DG Environment - Science for Environment Policy

Poisoned bait has been used as a method of pest control for hundreds of years, generally to kill animals that are regarded as "detrimental" to agriculture or hunting, such as wolves and raptors. However, this poses a huge threat to biodiversity and during the past 10 years, approximately 7000 endangered animals have been illegally killed by poison, including eagles, kites, vultures and brown bears. Even though this practice has been illegal in Spain since 1983, convictions have notoriously been hard to obtain and fines have been too low to act as deterrents.

The LIFE+ project VENENO was designed to combat cases of illegal poisoning of wildlife by developing action plans and establishing protocols to be used to collect the evidence and pursue those responsible. The project also created and trained a special Poison Investigation Unit and worked to increase awareness among judges and prosecutors of the importance of such wildlife crimes.

The efforts put into this project resulted in a number of successful sentences, and some of the highest fines ever imposed in Europe. In January 2012 a farmer was convicted of laying out nine poisoned baits and of poisoning six Spanish Imperial Eagles and a fox. His sentence, which set a precedent for this sort of crimes, consisted of 18 months imprisonment, a 3 year disqualification from hunting and a 360,000 euro fine to be paid for the estimated value of the six eagles.

USING TECHNOLOGY TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME

Produced for EU DG Environment - Science for Environment Policy

Technological advances in recent years have made it possible for regulatory bodies, NGOs and citizens to employ more technologies in the monitoring and enforcement of environmental law. This video features three interviews about the innovative ways in which smartphone apps, drones and satellites are empowering organisations and citizens in the fight against environmental crime.

© 2019 by GRETA SANTAGATA

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