ISTANBUL – Radikal
Three people detained Aug. 24 for illegally hunting wild rabbits in a forest near İzmir have been found to be employees of the provincial Forestry Department.
The three forestry officials were charged with illegal hunting and possession of unlicensed firearms.
They were detained by police officers after several members of the Aegean Wildlife and Hunting Federation, or EYHAF, became suspicious of the officials’ activities.
According to EYHAF President Mustafa Helalpara, members of the association had noticed a spotlight in a forested area and notified the police.
“The three people caught were driving an official van that said ‘firefighting’ on it,” said Helalpara, who added that the vehicle had been transformed for use in illegal hunting, with a spotlight used to blind animals connected to the van.
The İzmir Forestry Department was notified of the activities of their employees, who are forestry firemen, and has launched a disciplinary inquiry against them.
EYHAF is a federation formed of 41 separate groups fighting against illegal hunting, with members volunteering to spend a few nights a week in forests to prevent poaching.
Helalpara said they had caught hunters using recordings of bird chirps for hunting purposes, which he said is illegal.