About 330 wild birds kept illegally in amateur breeding sites were seized during Operation Falsários I, carried out last week in six municipalities in the east of Minas. The joint action between the State and Union interdicted 25 aviaries, fined 40 breeders and issued 48 Notices of Infraction, which together add up to R$ 897 thousand in environmental fines applied.
The investigations took place in the municipalities of Governador Valadares, Ipatinga, Timóteo, Caratinga, Vargem Alegre and Inhapim, and were conducted by Ibama, in partnership with the State Secretariat for the Environment (Semad), the Military Police and the Fire Department also participated in the operation. .
The rescued birds, including endangered species such as the Bullfinch and the Bicudo, received their first veterinary care and were sent to the Wild Animal Screening Center (Cetas) in Juiz de Fora, in the Zona da Mata.
According to the environmental analyst at Ibama, Sýlvio Modesto, one of those responsible for Operation Falsários I, the investigation came about after the federal agency identified possible fraud in the System for Control and Monitoring of Amateur Bird Raising Activity (SisPass).
“Analysing the data from SisPass, we identified a series of false declarations of birth of wild birds, as the official identification rings of the animals were still at the regional headquarters of IBAMA”, explains Modesto.
The rings are small rings with information identifying the bird and the breeder placed on the paw of the animals when they are still young. The instrument is used by IBAMA to regulate the maintenance and reproduction of birds in captivity, without commercial purposes and on a limited scale.
“A large part of the fined breeders used false or adulterated bands, without regulation, to keep birds captured in the wild in captivity and circumvent the system”, says Daniel Colen, director of Inspection of the Regional Environmental Superintendence (Supram) Leste.
According to Art. 296 of the Penal Code, the falsification, manufacture or tampering of a public seal intended to authenticate official acts (federal, state or municipal) constitutes a federal crime, with imprisonment from two to six years and a fine. Environmental legislation also provides for the seizure of animals and the ban on illegal breeding.
One of the steps taken during the operation drew the attention of the agents due to the number of identified birds in an irregular situation. A breeder in the municipality of Ipatinga illegally kills 81 endangered birds in captivity. The fine for each animal was BRL 5,000, which resulted in a fine of BRL 407,000. “As the breeder kept a high number of endangered animals illegally in captivity, the assessments were added up and reached this value”, says Daniel Colen.
The standard procedure for carrying out the registration of wild birds in Sispass consists of requesting, by the breeder, rings from the factory licensed by Ibama to produce the material.
After banding the chick, which must be carried out until the eighth day of the animal’s life, the breeder must declare the birth of the bird in the system, and the bird will appear in the specific virtual squad of this breeder.
According to the investigation, the existence of rings not removed by the breeders at the regional Ibama headquarters in Governador Valadares, associated with the existence of animal records in SisPass, constitutes fraud in the system and the false or tampered rings seized from the breeders during the operation prove the crime.