Environment ministry joins forces with NGOs to combat wildlife poaching
The Czech environment ministry has joined forces with wildlife groups to formulate new policies designed to battle poaching. According to the ministry, endangered protected species are still being illegally poached in the Czech Republic – including otters, wolves, lynxes and birds of prey. And the trend, says the ministry, has actually worsened in recent years. I spoke with Tereza Mináriková of NGO Alka Wildlife and began by asking her what was fuelling the Czech poaching industry.
And in the cases of lynxes and otters – you say human hunters put them up above their fireplaces. So they are not being sold. There is no market for such products?
Officially, illegal poaching of animals such as the ones you mentioned carries a sentence of up to three years in prison, with eight year prison terms for the most serious offences.
So why is this illegal hunting still happening if such serious sanctions are in place?
“I think there is a kind of sense that such cases are very difficult to investigate. We have never [in this country] seen a person forced to serve such a prison term for poaching. As well as the view that such cases are difficult to prove is the perception by hunters that they have a right to hunt these animals. I believe that Czech poachers believe themselves to be immune from prosecution.”
The Ministry of the Environment is currently having discussions with groups such as your ALKA Wildlife with regards to making life more difficult for poachers. So what new policies are being discussed?
And the Ministry of the Environment - will they come up with some specific recommendations?
“Yes – a public awareness campaign urging that people not partake in poaching, and report it when they see it, and help in the overall effort to end this activity.”