Photo: Tenerife Cabildo.
It’s the time of year when agriculturalists and livestock keepers fret about rodents, whether rats or rabbits, which they deem to represent a threat to their harvests or animals. Poison is the usual first port of call and from my own personal experience I would advise everyone to keep a wary eye on any pets because poison and poisoned bait is frequently used at this time of year.
It’s not just pets at risk, however, and the Tenerife Cabildo has asked the public to be very aware that the sticky traps for rodents can be gravely perilous for birds of prey. These traps come in the form of dishes with sticky bottoms, or adhesive pads, and when a rodent is stuck on one it attracts hunting birds, which themselves get stuck to the trap. Even those which escape from the trap find their feathers affected, see the main picture, and so become unable to fly properly, if at all. They then face a slow starvation in turn.
Every year the Cabildo’s fauna recuperation centre La Tahonilla assists a considerable number of such birds, and obviously many more die without being found in the first place. The authorities ask anyone who feels they must use such a trap to place it where birds of prey cannot see and be attracted by a struggling victim stuck to it.