National parks chief comes under fire over hunting trip

Basilio Rada is accused for joining a hunting party in an area that included part of Cabañeros NP

The head of the national parks agency is in hot water after joining a hunting party in an area that included a part of the Cabañeros National Park.

Basilio Rada, director general of the public body in charge of the national parks network, accepted an invitation by business tycoon Alberto Alcocer to hunt big game on one of his properties on January 3.

The hunting permit authorized participants to take down fallow deer, red deer and wild boar along the boundary that separates the private estate El Avellanar from Cabañeros, which straddles the provinces of Toledo and Ciudad Real.

Rada claims that he did not do any hunting himself, and that in any case the hunting party never penetrated park territory.

They assured me there wouldn't be any hunting in the park"

"I asked several times if there would be hunting in the park, because if so I wouldn't have gone, and they assured me there wouldn't be," he said, adding that he defends hunting outside national park limits, but never within them.

Organizers of the expedition say they never meant to hunt in Cabañeros in the first place, but environmentalists say that is beside the point - the point being why it had been allowed at all, when sports hunting in national parks is prohibited by law.

"For (Rada) to go to an estate that is within the national park, even if he hunts 20 meters from the boundary, seems irresponsible to us," said Theo Oberhuber of Ecologistas en Acción.

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