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Corsica: two months suspended prison sentence for destroying Hermann's tortoises

2022-01-14T15:48:10.480Z

A cattle farmer has been given a two-month suspended prison sentence and a 35,000 euro fine for killing numerous Hermann's tortoises in...



A cattle breeder was given a two-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 35,000 euros for having killed numerous Hermann's tortoises while clearing his land, on the outskirts of Ajaccio, AFP learned on Friday January 14 from lawyers. .

Read alsoVar: a wine estate fined 45,000 euros for clearing the habitat of an endangered turtle

The stay is subject to the obligation to repair the damage suffered within two years, specifies the judgment of the Bastia Court of Appeal, consulted by AFP, which confirmed the decision rendered at first instance in Ajaccio. .

In 2018, the breeder had cleared more than 23 hectares of land, "

under conditions that harm Hermann's tortoises and their habitat with the destruction of at least 34 specimens

".

“An ecocide”

For its part, the Dreal (Regional Directorate for the Environment, Planning and Housing) makes an assessment of between 116 and 349 reptiles killed, "

given the density of Hermann's tortoises on the ground

". “

We are very close to ecocide

”, regretted to AFP Me Martin Tomasi, counsel for the environmental association U Levante, civil party in this case.

"

The population (of turtles) is no longer able to reproduce because we no longer find juveniles

", he added, denouncing "

facts of almost unprecedented importance

".

Inspectors from the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) immediately alerted the breeder when they saw the corpses.

He nevertheless shredded around twenty additional hectares

, ”denounced the lawyer.

The breeder admitted the facts

Me Dominique Paolini, counsel for the defendant, has just lodged an appeal in cassation: “

We are talking about at least 34 turtles in prevention, and not 350

”, insisted on reframing the lawyer.

My client has acknowledged the facts.

He had an obligation to do this fence work to fight against animal wandering.

He even brought in a company specializing in the census of animal species, which specified that the turtles had not been eradicated

,” he argued.

Read alsoThe last French turtles weakened by the fires this summer

The convicted cattle breeder is Pierre-Marie Rossi, son of Jean-Dominique Rossi, former director of the Corse-du-Sud Chamber of Agriculture.

Like his father, brother, mother and grandmother, he is being prosecuted for "

organized gang fraud

" and "

aggravated money laundering

" for alleged fraud in European agricultural aid estimated at 1.4 million euros.

The trial is scheduled for next April.

The Var and Corsica are the last refuges of Hermann's tortoise, the only land tortoise in mainland France, classified as vulnerable on the national red list of threatened species and protected at international, European and French level.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-01-14

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