As part of our efforts to prevent poaching of quails and other bird species and animals, representatives of the Center for Environment conducted a visit to the territory of the municipality of Srbac. Several instances of poaching have been identified in this area, with poachers caught in the act.
During the first field visit two weeks ago, quail decoys were identified in one of the fields. However, between the detection of these illegal activities, the report made to the Srbac police station, and the arrival of gamekeepers on site, two hours passed, allowing poachers to remove their illegal equipment and withdraw from the area.
“Learning from this experience, before the second visit to this area, we informed the republic inspectorate. Together with a local guide and republic inspectors, we went to the field at dawn on September 9th. After several hours in the field, we heard gunshots, followed shortly by the sound of an electronic decoy. Upon reaching the location, we found a trap consisting of a stripped tree with cross branches where birds, lured by the decoy, land. Next to the trap were two hunters, Italian citizens, and a local guide. Upon the arrival of inspectors, representatives of the local community, and the Center, the guide called a person whom he claimed was ‘responsible for everything.’ Two decoys and hunting weapons, including a banned type of gun, known as a ‘five-shooter,’ were seized,” explained Igor Kalaba, assistant on the Biodiversity and Protected Areas program at the Center for Environment, who was on the scene.
Poaching in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a well-known phenomenon, extending beyond our borders, with foreign poachers, often from Italy in this case, being an open secret for several decades. “Sustainable tourism, including hunting, is one of the developmental opportunities for our communities. However, we currently seem to be a paradise for poachers who evidently look down on our country and its citizens, as well as the hunters who engage in ethical hunting,” added Kalaba.
Nataša Crnković, coordinator of the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Program at the Center for the Environment, emphasized that electronic decoys are just one of many prohibited hunting methods. “There are also semi-automatic and automatic rifles, night hunting with spotlights, nets, adhesive films, thermal cameras, and more. Electronic decoys are extremely harmful to birds, as they attract a large number of individuals to one location where a real massacre takes place at dawn, resulting in the killing of up to ten times more birds than in what hunters call ‘sporting’ conditions, following the rules.”
Poaching is a multifaceted harmful phenomenon that, beyond violating ethical norms, leads to economic loss and further damages the already fragile reputation of our country globally. This is nothing new, as many individuals prioritize personal profit and view benevolence as folly or weakness.
“This reflects a twisted system and corruption that is widespread and often enjoys protection from institutions. It is up to all of us to contribute to building a better society and a rule-of-law state in every possible way,” concluded Igor Kalaba.
The Center for Environment expresses special thanks to Božo Ristić, whose advice and field guidance were invaluable in uncovering poaching in the territory of the municipality of Srbac, as well as to representatives of the Republic Inspectorate for Forestry, Hunting, and Fishing of the RS, who, in line with their powers, conducted an inspection of the field and seized illegal equipment. The Center will follow the procedure for sanctioning the Hunting Association Srna, responsible for the area where poaching occurred, as well as procedures related to foreign citizens found on the scene.
Reminder: Poaching has been prevented several times in Livanjsko and Duvanjsko Polje, where the Center works in collaboration with the Ornithological Society “Naše ptice.” Following the media statements, reports have started to come in from other parts of the country.