• Homepage
  • Posts
  • Wildlife Crime in France: a man will be prosecuted for fatally shooting a Bearded Vulture and a Cinereous Vulture

Wildlife Crime in France: a man will be prosecuted for fatally shooting a Bearded Vulture and a Cinereous Vulture

Share This Post

Good news from France, in the Drôme region, a wildlife crime case is being taken to court next fall. The investigation, led by the French Biodiversity Office (Office Français de la Biodiversité), resulted in the identification of a person responsible for fatally shooting a Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) and a Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) both threatened species. Will justice be made?

Cinereous Vulture and Bearded Vulture together in a vulture feeding station

A court case for fatally shooting two protected bird species

According to the press release recently published by the Valence Public Prosecutor, a man will stand trial for fatally shooting two protected bird species. The Bearded and the Cinereous Vultures are considered “Endangered” in France and are therefore covered by National Action Plans, which define actions required to conserve and restore the species.

The French penal code foresees three years of imprisonment and a €150,000 fine for any attack on a bird species protected by the Environmental code. The person tried in court might also see his hunting license withdrawn and all his weapons confiscated.

The press release states, “The accused was brought before the Valence Public Prosecutor on 11 July 2023 and summoned to appear at the Criminal Court on 6 October 2023, where he will be tried on charges of unlawfully destroying a protected species. Pending his trial, he has been placed under judicial supervision, including the obligation to deposit the sum of €1,800, including €1,700 to guarantee damages for the civil parties.”

Wildlife crime in France hinders conservation efforts to restore and safeguard vulture populations

Direct persecution and illegal wildlife poisoning are among the biggest anthropic causes of vulture mortality. Human-wildlife conflicts arise as vultures are wrongly accused of attacking domestic animals and frightening mountain herds. However, as obligate scavengers, vultures do not attack herds and are key species in maintaining functional and healthy ecosystems. The loss of vultures has economic, ecological and social implications. Recently, a study analysed the social costs of living in areas where vultures became extinct (in India), shedding light on the essential ecosystem services they deliver as nature’s clean-up crew.

According to the information shared, a Bearded Vulture reintroduction costs around €40,000 for each release. As for Cinereous Vultures, the costs are estimated at €10,000. In France, there are currently two LIFE Projects, funded by the EU’s LIFE Programme, to restore and safeguard Bearded Vulture populations in the French Pyrenees and Southern France (GypAct) and Corsica (GypRescue). Both include stakeholder engagement activities with specific groups, such as hunters, to raise awareness about the importance of safeguarding these protected species.

How the Wildlife Crime Academy is helping to fight crime

At the Vulture Conservation Foundation, we are firmly committed to empowering national authorities and technical teams in the fight against wildlife crime. Thanks to the Wildlife Crime Academy courses, part of the EU-funded BalkanDetox LIFE and LIFE with Vultures projects and held in close collaboration with the Junta de Andalucía, we are improving the forensic and criminal investigation skills and law enforcement of dozens of technicians from across Europe.

The training will significantly impact prosecuting and convicting wildlife criminals, serving as a deterrent to potential offenders and ultimately minimising wildlife crimes, thereby saving the lives of endangered species. The last advanced training happened this May; 44 participants from across Europe were trained. In 2024, technicians, police officers and prosecutors from France will also be able to join the training courses.

WCA-Fighting Wildlife Crime Together logos

Source: Press release by the Tribunal judiciaire de Valence

Related Posts

Scroll to Top