The second animal found dead at La Victoria. | UH

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The association of hunters of Alcúdia has made a public appeal to the public not to walk dogs off the lead in the public mountain of La Victòria. As in other mountain areas, human pressure has skyrocketed with the pandemic, and in the last week and a half alone they have found the bodies of a goat and a kid dead with teeth marks on the bodies. "This is the breeding season which is when kids are most vulnerable, but in February it will be blackbirds, partridges, pheasants... there is too much pressure. There were already many people who came to walk the dog before and since the beginning of the pandemic has increased even more," explains the president of the hunters of Alcúdia, Jaume Buades.

La Victòria de Alcúdia (with an area of 1,198 hectares) is the largest public estate in Mallorca, entirely owned by the municipality. It is a Natural Area of Special Interest (ANEI). It is managed by the hunters of Alcúdia, who have the first big game hunting reserve authorised in the Balearic Islands. "As in other public estates in Mallorca, there are regulations to comply with and the dogs must be leashed or muzzled," says the president of the hunters. Buades warns that "once a dog has attacked an animal, its instinct leads it to repeat." "Many owners believe that their dogs are very docile and that they can run loose because they don't do anything, but they do," he adds.

Slaughtered

In the last week and a half, at least two animals have been killed. In the first case, the owners of the dog reported the incident, apologised and tried to save the injured goat, but the wounds were so severe that it had to be euthanised. In the second case, a goat was found dead in the vicinity of s'Illot. Hunters were alerted and the local police have opened an investigation but have not yet located those responsible, explains Jaume Buades. "We make a public appeal for people to take the dogs on the lead because your dog will pass ten times next to an animal and will not do anything, but at the eleventh it will do, and once it has bitten, then it does not stop, the farmers who lose every year a good part of their herds know it well," says the president of the hunters of Alcúdia.

The Victòria de Alcúdia preserve became in 2008 the first big game hunting reserve in the Balearic Islands where international hunters could legally hunt the Balearic boc (wild goat), one of the four big caprids in Spain. The high season starts at the end of February or early March. The public mountain has four major nature tourism routes with different degrees of difficulty. The most popular is the one that reaches Penya Roja, which is crowned by the remains of a fortification with a cannon. The alderman of Medi Ambient, Tomàs Adrover, also calls for "responsibility" to hikers and reminds them that dogs must be kept on the lead.