Adorable and yet unloved, the polecat has finally been removed from the list of so-called “harmful” species. A decision endorsed by a decree published in the Official Journal on May 14. For animal rights defenders, this is a well-deserved victory after years of mobilization.
In 2019, Pierre Rigaux defended the polecat, a species in decline, on the ASPAS website (the Association for the Protection of Wild Animals), describing it as a “predator long abused by humans”. Its bad reputation paints it as a henhouse predator, a pest that would prey on the broods of partridges… However, reminds the animal rights defender, the skunk mainly feeds on small rodents (field mice, voles, rats, etc.), amphibians (frogs, toads) and rabbits.
Between the metamorphosis of the countryside (disappearance of hedgerows and wetlands), urbanization, trapping and hunting, the polecat population has been in constant decline since the 1970s. It was high time to react.
Thanks to the mobilization of associations such as ASPAS, the practice of trapping, still authorized in the departments of Pas-de-Calais and Loire Atlantique, was finally banned in July 2021 by the Council of State. As an extension of this decision, the State decided to remove the polecat from the list of “pests” by an order published in the Official Journal on 14 May.
But the little carnivore is not off the hook. Indeed, the polecat remains “game”, so it can be shot completely legally throughout the next hunting season. To save the polecat, removing it from the list of pests is therefore not enough, it must be granted protected species status, claims ASPAS.