The Little Owl (Athene noctua, sýček obecný in Czech) has been chosen as Bird of the Year by the Czech Society for Ornithology. Though common in Europe, Northern Africa, parts of the Middle East and Asia, population numbers of the owl fallen significantly over the last half century in the Czech Republic, disappearing from farmland areas; as a result the Little Owl is on the endangered list.
The area of the Zlín region covered by special measures to counter African
swine fever has been reduced sharply.
The area covered from February 1 by special measures now covers just 40 percent of the Zlín district. The reduction was agreed by the European Commission following a Czech request.
Special measures had applied to the whole of the Zlín district from the middle of last year. Czech authorities are trying to stop the spread of the fever, which is fatal for pigs, from the population of wild boar to the livestock being raised on farms.
The Czech Republic should reduce the numbers of its wild boar population by
90 percent in order to prevent the spread of the highly infectious African
swine fever, Agriculture Minister Jiri Milek said on Friday. He said the
wild boar population should be reduced across Europe for the measures
approved to be successful.
The Czech authorities have ordered a cull on wild boar in the affected area of the Zlin region and a ban has been issued on keeping domestic pigs. The country is expected to spend 200 million crowns this year on measures aimed at containing and eliminating the infectious disease.
The popular pig-slaughtering feasts which usually take place in February are going to start early for some pig-breeders this year. Farmers living in the area infested with swine-fever have been ordered to cull their animals in view of a growing risk of the disease spreading from wild boar to pigs in the region.
A ban on keeping domestic pigs has been ordered by the state veterinary
service in a bid to prevent the spread of the highly infectious African
The ban applies to a high risk area of the Zlín region where the battle to contain the infection spreading from the wild boar population has been raging for the past four months. In addition, the state office has tightened its rules for the transport of pigs across the region.
The tightened rules have been ordered because of the risk of the disease spreading as wild boars usually migrate in the late autumn.
The veterinary office said that in spite of a cull on wild boar in the affected area, 15 new cases of the fever have been found in dead animals since the start of November. Once of the chief concerns is that the fever could spread to commercial pig farms in the pork eating country.
Four of the wolves which escaped from a nature reserve in Bavaria are still
on the loose, the head of the Šumava National Park told journalists on
One wolf was run over by a train, another was shot for safety reasons near a holiday resort in Haus zur Wildnis. Another was sighted in the Šumava Mountains over the weekend.
People have been warned that in the event of sighting one of the wolves they should not try to approach them, feed them or take pictures.
An all- out effort is being made to recapture the animals which were bred in captivity and would have a hard time surviving in the wild.
Six wolves have escaped from the Bavarian national park near Ludwigsthal.
The park is located near the Czech German border and the authorities say
the animals could appear in the Šumava Mountains.
In the event of sighting them people have been asked not to approach them, try to feed them or take pictures.
The head of the national park Franz Leibl said an all out effort was being made to recapture the wolves. Since they were bred in an enclosure their chances of survival in the wild are extremely slim, he said.
Zlín governor Jiří Čunek has issued further measures in connection with the incidence of African swine fever in the region. The measures include a ban prohibiting people from entering fields and wooded areas where infected wild boar may be present. These areas will only be accessible to hunters and veterinary officials who are working to contain the spread of the disease by gradually eliminating all the wild boar in the region. There are believed to be some 400 animals in the given area. A 45km long electric fence has been put up to prevent them migrating.
Workers have started installing a 45km long electric fence in the Zlin region which is fighting an epidemic of African swine fever. The fence is to prevent the migration of infected wild boar. The animals will gradually be put down. A state of emergency is in place in the region and special measures are in effect to protect private and commercial pig breeders. There are some 400 wild boar in the infected area. Work on the fence is expected to last for another two or three days. Farmers in the high-risk area will not be able to harvest their crops and will receive compensation from the state.