MME and its partners have been implementing the “Conservation of Imperial Eagles in Hungary” Life project from 2012 through 2016. The main goal of the 75% EU funded project, which has a budget of 600 million forints, is to find a solution to one of Europe’s worst raptor poisoning issues.
Undoubtedly, the most unique character of the project is Falco, the detection dog whose task is, one hand, to find poisoned baits and poisoned victims of birds and other animals, and on the other hand, to help a specialized team of National Bureau of Investigation, which is a partner organization in the programme.
This photo not only depicts Falco’s efficiency but also the severity of bird poisoning
(Photo: Gábor Deák).
Falco, after having received a four-month long special training in the Training Center of the National Police Headquarters in Dunakeszi, has been working in the programme for over four years but the public could only hear bits of information in order to carry out successful investigations.
Falco is on duty (Photo: Szilárd Morvai).
This long silence broke today as MME held a press conference and put on a dog show in its main office in the Jókai Garden. People could meet Falco and find out about his work he did last year:
- more than 160 field searches in 11 counties and an additional search in a house;
- walked about 1000 kilometers in the field;
- out of 843 dead animals and poisoned baits he found altogether, 61 cases could be attributed to crimes without any doubt, moreover in nineteen cases there is suspicion of intentional poisoning;
- bodies and tracks found by Falco belonged to 64 birds, mammals (otter, wild cat) and reptiles (European pond turtle). 32 birds and 11 mammals of all these were victims of poisoning (see the detailed Excel-sheet attached) ,
- among the carcasses, there were both fresh and decomposed, and already buried ones, as well (two strictly protected Saker Falcons were unearthed this way during one of the first searches);
- Falco also participated in the investigation of a Wolf that was shot in the Bükk Hill. Falco found the resting places of the wounded animal and eventually the place where it got killed.
We can say that Falco’s work has already reduced the numbers of poisoning cases and contributed to launch and finish several investigations. After successful indictments, currently there are two cases waiting for the decision of the jury, which, hopefully, bring dissuasive penalties in the end.
Dr. Márton Horváth leader of the HELICON LIFE+ project ...
... has opened the press conference.
Gábor Deák followed him, ...
... Falco’s handler informed the media about their job and results they have had so far.
The event lasted about an hour ending with a poison searching show.
Gábor Deák presented two capsules closed with wadding ...
... which contained the scent samples, ...
... and Falco’s job was to find them.
It took no more than a few minutes for him to find both, while in front of several cameras.
ATV’s associates got a footage ...
... of Falco, as well (Photos: Zoltán Orbán).
Gábor Deák - Márton Horváth - Zoltán Orbán