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Swede jailed for catching 13,000 wild birds

TT/Rebecca Martin · 17 Oct 2011, 14:30

Published: 17 Oct 2011 14:30 GMT+02:00

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"The verdict is clear and states that a serious crime has been committed. It also shows that a serious crime leads to a serious sentence," said prosecutor Christer Jarlås, who had argued for 2 years in prison.

According to Jarlås, the man's aviary obsession began as a simple hobby before spiralling out of control. He argued the man should be sentenced to two years in prison.

”That is the penalty for this kind of aggravated crimes,” said Jarlås to news agency TT prior to the verdict.

The 40-year-old is believed to have been hunting and catching birds since January 2005 until being caught in June 2010.

He is also suspected of taking eggs and baby birds from nests.

The man kept an extensive database which included notes of the 13,983 birds and eggs collected.

Included in the notes were descriptions of how he caught several species of owls, eagles, hawks, woodpeckers and geese, some of which are protected species.

The man's defence lawyer Thomas Martinsson said his client admitted to hunting and protected species crimes, but that he feels the violations shouldn't be considered severe.

In most cases he released the birds after a short time. And one of the reasons behind catching the animals was that he wanted to save injured birds.

”It was simply a hobby that got out of hand,” said Martinsson to TT.

According to Dennis Kraft, chairman of the Swedish Ornithological Society (Svenska ornitologiska föreningen), the man’s compulsive bird collecting could have had a negative impact on the populations of a number of rare bird species.

”Especially the three-toed woodpecker and the eagle-owl which we have been working hard to help recover after they almost disappeared in the 1990s due to environmental pollutants,” he told TT at the time of the bird fancier's arrest.

“And although some of the birds caught belong to more common species, he has still made them suffer by putting them in cages.”

According to Kraft, there is nothing common about the man's behaviour.

Story continues below…

“The extent of the number of birds that this guy collected is a bit terrifying. Thankfully this is pretty unusual. We don’t come across this type of collectors very often," he said.

The man said during the trial that he understood what he had done was wrong but that he always tried to act in the best interests of the animals.

But both witness accounts and expert testimony indicated that the man intentionally subjected the birds to severe suffering in part because he kept them locked in small cages.

According to the verdict, the man had acted recklessly and is therefore also guilty of animal cruelty.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:29 October 17, 2011 by Svensksmith
That's about .04 days per bird.
16:02 October 17, 2011 by syntax
Will this man try to play real-life "Angry Birds"?
17:02 October 17, 2011 by RobinHood
Eighteen months. He could have raped and murdered someone and got less than that. How about adding human beings to Swedens list of protected species?
17:10 October 17, 2011 by philster61
With nearly 7 billion humans on the planet, I'd hardly think we need be named protected species....
17:34 October 17, 2011 by RobinHood
There are 100 billion birds. why do they get special treatment?
20:38 October 17, 2011 by mkvgtired
RobinHood, dont be silly. You are always over exaggerating on here. Torturing someone to death gets you 20 months.

21:49 October 17, 2011 by jvtx3232
Don't let this guy near the Tåkern naturreservat!

23:27 October 17, 2011 by jostein
How do you find such a perfect picture to this story?
01:34 October 18, 2011 by Grokh
yes throw that man in jail for just catching birds and let all newspapers brag about other people actually shooting animals, because THATS ok -_-x
05:47 October 18, 2011 by johnoleson
Don't put this man in jail. Let him keep and breed the endangered species, to release them when their numbers are up. He obviously has talent and motivation and I'm sure he could outperform the government as a wildlife manager.
22:14 October 18, 2011 by salalah
At last a man who doesnt just leave things in the air...
12:23 October 21, 2011 by bubbagump
It's funny, when a man does this with a PhD behind his name, they call it science, not crime.
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