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Criminals taking advantage of COVID-19 crisis for attacks on protected birds of prey in Central and Eastern Europe


PhysOrg
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Criminals are using the COVID-19 pandemic as cover for a significant increase in wildlife crime in Central and Eastern Europe. In March alone, in total at least 27 protected birds of prey were illegally killed in Austria and another three in neighboring Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Several other suspected cases are still being investigated and clarified, while the number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher. "While public life is severely restricted and the authorities are focused on fighting the pandemic, dozens of protected animals are victims of unscrupulous criminals. This is a real scandal and endangers important nature conservation successes," says Christina Wolf-Petre, species protection expert, WWF-Austria.

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