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Swan poaching on the rise in Brussels
Brussels swans are increasingly falling prey to poachers, with nature officials saying they have even found traps set for the animals.
Already there are fewer swans to be seen in the Belgian capital, Bruzz reports, and authorities are sounding the alarm.
“We see that poaching is taking place more and more in Brussels,” Kenny Meganck of Natuurpunt Brussels told Bruzz.
“We already know the methods being used, by looking at what’s taken place in Bruges, where entire swans or eggs are taken away. They’re often worth up to €300, so it’s a lucrative criminal activity.”
In some places, police are using extra patrols to catch swan thieves in the act.
“Reports about the presence of traps and the taking of eggs are increasing,” Meganck said. “In our monitoring, we also see that compared to previous periods, there are fewer swans.”
The situation has become serious enough that authorities are concerned that swans may disappear from Brussels entirely.
Only an estimated 30 or so swans remain in the capital and residents have noticed the decline.
“I noticed that there were fewer swans this year than last,” one such resident told Bruzz. “But I had thought it was due to a natural change in balance.”
“The poaching is damaging a common good,” another said.
Natuurpoint believes that more checks are critical to keeping what swans remain out of the hands of poachers and is calling for more patrols in public parks.
“It is hugely important that more checks are made on this,” said Meganck.
“There is sound Belgian and Brussels legislation on this. But in Brussels, as is often the case, we see that enforcement falls short.”