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The environmental protection arm of the Guardia Civil, SEPRONA, or El Servicio de Protección de la Naturaleza, arrested 431 people and charged another 1,528 during 2013, according to data released by the group. In addition to the arrests, officers also dealt with 102,629 environmental complaints, of which 1,991 constituted criminal offences, the remaining 100,628 covered by administrative legislation.

Of the 1,959 people who were arrested or charged, 174 of them were for offences against pets, 188 were in connection with forest fires and 72 were in relation to the quality of food. However, the largest proportion of complaints were in connection with the protection of wildlife, with 49,461 of the complaints relating to both domestic and wild animals, as well as inadequate waste management, resulting in 20,102 administrative reports.

The number of actions have increased considerably, but the Guardia Civil are putting that largely down to there being more awareness of SEPRONA, and their activities, as well as an increase in citizen participation in reporting potential offences, with postcards, emails and calls adding another 1,000 investigations to the quota.

The use of illegal poison and methods were particularly high on the list of actions, with 151 animals having been killed, some by poisoned bait, with 6 people being arrested and charged for this type of activity. The animals most affected were the red kite (Milvus Milvus) and the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), with 30 and 13 copies respectively found dead by eating these illegal products.

In relation to domestic animals, 3,256 actions relating to the abuse and neglect of pets were carried out, resulting in 234 criminal offenses that led to the arrest of 40 people and the imputation of other 134.

Following the previously reported depletion of bird numbers in Torrevieja, the Compromis political group have asked SEPRONA to investigate if any criminal or administrative sanctions can be brought against those responsible for purposely flooding the salt lakes, one of many activities being carried out in the area which is already having a disastrous impact on the natural environment.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43379/

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