Pictures show roe deer, tortoise held in captivity in downtown Tirana

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 8, 2018 17:33

Pictures show roe deer, tortoise held in captivity in downtown Tirana

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  • “Environmental crime does not only occur in rural areas and far away from the public's attention, but also close to the center of Tirana, seen by thousands of people and relevant institutions,” says PPNEA, the Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania

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A tortoise on sale in a downtown Tirana market for a reported

A tortoise on sale in a downtown Tirana market for a reported 1,000 lek (€8); Photos: PPNEA

TIRANA, May 8 – Two Roe deer being held in captivity in a small bar on the banks of Tirana’s artificial lake and a tortoise on sale for as cheap as 1,000 lek (€8) in a downtown open-air market in the capital are the latest two cases of animal cruelty that a local environmental watchdog has unveiled.

“Environmental crime does not only occur in rural areas and far away from the public’s attention, but also close to the center of Tirana, seen by thousands of people and relevant institutions,” says PPNEA, the Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania.

The animal cruelty cases have been unveiled in pictures reportedly taken in the first days of May 2018 and posted on a dedicated portal serving as a hotline to report cases of environmental or animal abuse.

The Hermann’s tortoise put up for sale at the Pazari i Ri, serving as a vegetable and fish market in central Tirana, is part of the Red List of Albanian Flora and Fauna while the International Union for Conservation of Nature rates them as ‘least concern’ species that do not qualify as threatened.

In the second case, two protected Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) held in captivity were pictured in a small bar on the banks of Tirana’s artificial lake. The Roe deer is part of the Red List of Albanian Flora and Fauna with an endangered status.

Last year, a three-month-old bear cub that had been trapped in mountain village outside Tirana was rescued from captivity after being illegally advertised for sale at a popular portal for €1,100.

Brown hares and bears being killed and advertised as trophies on social networks or endangered species such as the Balkan Lynx kept embalmed at restaurant bars in addition to caged bear cubs held in captivity are some of the cases watchdogs have identified in the past couple of years.

Environmentalists have also identified golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), the symbol of Albania’s national red and black flag, kept in captivity, the killing of three red foxes and a restaurant which had turned into a museum of embalmed species in a northern Albania beach areas.

In late 2017, animal rights activists submitted more than 37,000 signatures in a petition addressed to MPs seeking to make animal cruelty punishable by fines and even imprisonment by amending the country’s Criminal Code, but the legal initiative that needs a qualified majority of 84 votes, three-fifths of the current 140-seat Parliament, has not been examined yet.

Albania has banned hunting for the past couple of years and imposed a new five-year moratorium until 2021 to put an end to uncontrolled and illegal hunting, which has decimated wildlife populations in the country over the last two and a half decades after the collapse of the communist regime in the early 1990s.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 8, 2018 17:33