Court’s venomous bite over viper protection

The European Court of Justice ruled yesterday that Greece has not been doing enough to protect a rare breed of viper that is mostly indigenous to the Cycladic island of Milos. Yesterday’s decision orders Greece to do more to protect the snake, known as Vipera schweizeri or the Cycladic blunt-nosed viper. The snake is on a list of endangered species and experts believe that half of the rare vipers can be found on Milos. The court said Greece is doing little to protect the snake, arguing that sheep and cows are allowed to graze in an area used by the vipers to reproduce and rest. Mines also operate in the area, the court said. Greece has argued that its current legislation and programs were sufficient to protect the endangered viper but the court said the measures were «fragmented.»