The LIFE Nature Guardians is a project, coordinated by Spanish BirdLife Partner SEO/BirdLife to improve the fight environmental crime.
Within the framework of the project, courses for more than 1100 environmental and forestry rangers, regional police officers and Guardia Civil have been given. The main areas covered by the course are wildlife poisoning, shooting, animal cruelty, illegal trade and organized crime.
In addition, an international two-day training on environmental crime motivation took place, gathering a whopping 1835 people from Spain, Portugal, Uruguay, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay, Panama, El Salvador, the United States, and the Netherlands.
SEO/BirdLife and BirdLife’s Portuguese Partner SPEA have applied to appear and take part in 18 criminal proceedings for environmental crimes in various Spanish and Portuguese courts. In addition to their presence in court, both NGOs have applied to appear and take part in six administrative proceedings for injuries to birds and damages to habitats.
Some legal actions have been initiated for cases, such as the death of three owls and another for five Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita); the illegal trapping and killing of Scopoli’s Shearwaters (Calonectris diomedea) in the Canary Islands; the New Lisbon Airport affecting the Natura 2000 network; or by the first penal case by electrocution in Spain against an electricity company (ENDESA) for failing to correct power lines that caused bird mortality.
The creation of the Intelligence Analysis Unitcalled Oficina Central Nacional (OCN-National Central Office), is undoubtedly one of the major milestones of this project.
The creation of the OCN is a key point in the evolution of the fight against environmental crimes. It has already created and spread intelligence documents regarding environmental crimes areas related to the project such as eel trafficking, reptiles trafficking, ozone depleting substances and COVID waste. More info about the project at www.guardianes.seo.org