Nature protection authority: Over 100 predators poisoned with illegal carbofuran

Toxicology and pathology tests by the national food safety authority (Nebih) have confirmed the poisoning of 114 predators, including 8 endangered species of birds of prey, from carbofuran, a highly toxic pesticide banned in the European Union, at the Tura hunting ground east of Budapest, Hungary's bird and nature protection association (MME) said on Thursday.

MME said earlier in September that poisoned bait had been placed across almost the entire Tura hunting area of 8,000 hectares killing 93 birds of prey, as well as foxes, crows, dogs and cats.

Carbofuran, a small quantity of which can kill humans, was banned in the EU in 2008. It is one of the most toxic compounds on the pesticide market, with between 3 to 19 milligrams enough to kill a mammal depending on body weight. In the case of birds, an even smaller amount can be lethal, MME said in a statement.

MME said the concentrations revealed by the tests have shocked professionals because the 6,000 milligrams per kilo found in a single bait and the close to 60 milligrams detected in a poisoned western marsh harrier have far exceeded all previous cases of poisoning.

“The poisoned bait conservationists removed from the Tura hunting ground in the past weeks may have contained active ingredients enough to kill up to 158 people, destroy 158,000 western marsh harriers or poison the entire world population of eastern imperial eagles,” MME said, adding that a criminal investigation is under way by Godollo police.

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