Canary Islands News Roundup September 2017

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Couriers still charging Customs Fees

Despite the €150 exemption from customs duties introduced by the Canarian Government earlier this year, some shipping companies are continuing to charge customs’ clearance fees. Consumers have complained that Seur, Nacex, Correos Express, MRV and ASM are all continuing to charge fees of up to €20 on items valued below €150. Conversely, it is being reported that Correos Postal, DHL Express and Aman (UPS) are not charging clearing fees.

Forest Fire in Gran Canaria

A large Forest Fire that began on the 20th of September resulted in one fatality, forced more than 800 people to evacuate their homes and destroyed the Parador at Cruz de Tejeda (a Hotel). A huge operation with more than 300 people, 7 Helicopters and 4 Planes were used to control the fire that affected 2700 Hectares of pine forest and mountain in central Gran Canaria. A 60 year-old Swiss woman, resident on the island, was killed while trying to rescue her animals from the flames. Thanks to careful forestry management during the previous winter, damage to the pine forest and houses was limited. As to what provoked the blaze, Investigators have discounted natural causes, but do not yet know if the fire was started deliberately or through carelessness.

839 California Kingsnakes Captured so far in 2017

At the end of August, the total number of California Kingsnakes (Lampropeltis californiae) captured in Gran Canaria had already beaten previous records. This invasive species, native to the Western US and Mexico, has spread throughout the island since it was first detected in the wild in Gran Canaria in 2008. It is thought that the entire Gran Canaria population of this non-venomous snake are descended from a single pair of albino snakes released into the wild by irresponsible pet owners (inadvertently or otherwise). The government has spent millions of euros attempting to eradicate this species, but with no natural predators, this has proved futile.

Scopolamine Death

The death of a Belgian Businessman in Gran Canaria in February of this year has been attributed to Scopolamine (Hyoscine). It is the first recorded death in Spain attributed to the drug, which has been used to induce the ‘chemical submission’ for the purposes of sexual assault or robbery. Two men were drugged while enjoying drinks in a Playa del Ingles Bar, one of whom survived thanks to medical intervention. Both men felt drugged, agitated and had dilated pupils, prompting them to seek medical attention.

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