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A Raid on a Palermo Market

Early in the morning of Sunday, 5th August, the wildlife crime unit of the Carabinieri-Forestali of of Palermo seized more than 100 Goldfinches and 4 Sicilian Pond Turtles near BallarĂ² market.

The activity was preceded by a period of observation of the subjects involved; this had allowed them to track down the place near to the improvised stalls where the specimens were hidden.

The specimens seized were identified as species protected by The International Bern Convention of 1979 which had the objective of the conservation of wildlife in Europe.

The finches were discovered inside 3 cramped cages under conditions of severe suffering which prevented them not only from flying but from moving about inside. They were seen by a vet from the staff of the Veterinary Prevention Department at Palermo who had confirmed their fitness to be released back into the wild. By 11am all of them had been freed near the Park of the Favourite in Palermo.

The turtles were taken to the wildlife recuperation centre at Ficuzza, had the condition of their health assessed by the vets who manage the centre and were released into the river system from which they presumably came.


The action last Sunday was only one of a long series which has allowed the Carabinieri-Forestali supported by the Territorial Army and the evironmental organisations, WWF, LIPU and CABS to deliver a hard blow to those who, at this time of the year, intensify poaching.
Just two days ago the Carabinieri-Forestali charged someone who was in possession, in a small warehouse in the market at Vucciria, 4 Goldfinches probably used as living lures to carry out the odious practice of bird-catching.
The conservation of biodiversity heritage constitutes one of the missions of the arm of the Carabinieri, pursued through the command of the forestry and environmental units and the food production sector. The protection of these resources can proceed as well from the impetus of citizens; where they decide to purchase similar specimens they have to go exclusively to specialised shops acquiring specimens of legitimate origin bred in captivity from specimens properly collected from nature, as well as informing the forces of law and order all those sources of illegal sales or illicit trapping.

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