Criminals taking advantage of COVID-19 crisis to attack protected birds of prey, WWF-Austria warns


Photo by Neil Burton/

Criminals are using the COVID-19 pandemic as cover for a significant increase in wildlife crime in Central and Eastern Europe, WWF-Austria has warned. 

In March alone, at least 27 protected birds of prey were killed illegally in Austria and another three in neighboring Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Several other suspected cases are still being investigated and clarified, while the number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher, WWF-Austria said.

“While public life is severely restricted and the authorities are focused on fighting the pandemic, dozens of protected animals are victims of unscrupulous criminals,” says Christina Wolf-Petre, species protection expert at WWF-Austria.

Birds of prey play a key role in the ecosystem, and also reflect the health status of their environment. However, despite their protected status, birds of prey are still seen as “competitors” by some hunters and farmers.

“Birds of prey fly far beyond national borders on their forays. It is therefore particularly important that we can work across borders to combat their persecution,” says Wolf-Petre.

Removing a top predator can often alter the gentle balance of an entire ecosystem, WWF-Austria warns, and that is not just the case with birds.

In CEE, the WWF is cooperating with Interpol to train local law enforcement, prosecutors, police and customs officers to be more effective in their fight against illegal logging and working on the root causes of poaching of strictly protected sturgeon and large carnivores such as lynx, brown bears and wolves.

According to Interpol, environmental crime now ranks as the third largest criminal sector worldwide, WWF-Austria adds.


Hungary Inflation Rate at 21.5% in May Figures

Hungary Inflation Rate at 21.5% in May

Parl't Approves Amendments to Legislation on Judiciary Parliament

Parl't Approves Amendments to Legislation on Judiciary

Industrial Production Declines in April Manufacturing

Industrial Production Declines in April

Landmark Budapest Dept Store to Reopen After HUF 8 bln Renov... History

Landmark Budapest Dept Store to Reopen After HUF 8 bln Renov...


Producing journalism that is worthy of the name is a costly business. For 27 years, the publishers, editors and reporters of the Budapest Business Journal have striven to bring you business news that works, information that you can trust, that is factual, accurate and presented without fear or favor.
Newspaper organizations across the globe have struggled to find a business model that allows them to continue to excel, without compromising their ability to perform. Most recently, some have experimented with the idea of involving their most important stakeholders, their readers.
We would like to offer that same opportunity to our readers. We would like to invite you to help us deliver the quality business journalism you require. Hit our Support the BBJ button and you can choose the how much and how often you send us your contributions.