Continued implication of the banned pesticides carbofuran and aldicarb in the poisoning of domestic and wild animals of the Canary Islands (Spain)

Although nowadays the intentional poisoning of domestic and wild animals is a crime in EU, in the past the poison was used in rural areas of a number of European countries to kill animals that were considered harmful for human activities. In Spain evidences indicate that intentional poisonings continue to occur throughout the entire country. This situation seems to be of particular concern in the Canary Islands (Spain), where this study was performed. The results from this study confirm that pesticides poisoned 225 animals over the study period (32 months; 2010-2013). The intentionality of the poisoning was confirmed in 117 cases. It has to be highlighted that the other 108 animals also died by pesticide poisoning, although the intentionality was only suspected. This incidence is currently the highest reported in any region from European Union. The pesticides carbofuran, bromadiolone, brodifacoum and aldicarb were the most frequently detected involved. Among the affected species, it has to be highlighted that endangered species are frequently affected in poisoning incidents. Notably, chemicals banned in the EU (carbofuran and aldicarb) were identified in approximately 75% of cases, and in almost 100% of baits, which suggests that these pesticides are still available to the population. Several circumstances may explain these results. Firstly, little control over the sale and possession of pesticide products, and the potential existence of an illegal market of pesticides banned in the European Union in the neighbouring African continent. In addition, the limited awareness of the population about the dangerousness of these compounds, for the environment, animals, or even people, make the situation very worrying in these islands. The authors concluded that stronger regulations, control of legal and illegal pesticide use, development of educational programs and legal action in poisoning incidents are needed to decrease the impact of pesticide misuse on wildlife and domestic animals.

Authors: Ruiz-Suárez N, Boada LD, Henríquez-Hernández LA, González-Moreo F, Suárez-Pérez A, Camacho M, Zumbado M, Almeida-González M, Del Mar Travieso-Aja M, Luzardo OP. ;