BirdLife Partners join forces against illegal bird killing in the Mediterranean

Photo: BirdLife Cyprus
By Communication Europe, Mon, 07/04/2014 - 08:16

For migratory birds, illegal killing is an additional threat to their already dangerous and challenging journey. The EU Bird Directive protects the millions of birds who travel between their nesting and wintering grounds twice every year, by stating that only a few species can be hunted under certain conditions of timing and methods. In the Mediterranean, violations of this EU legislation are particularly widespread, exacerbating the substantial decrease in migratory bird populations over the past 40 years.

BirdLife Partners in Italy (LIPU), Greece (HOS) and Spain (SEO/BirdLife) have decided that coordinated actions and a common approach are required to address the problem, and have created the joint “Safe Haven for Wild Birds” LIFE + project. The project aims at changing the attitude of local communities in three migratory blackspots: Sulcis (SW Sardinia, Italy), Ionian Islands (Western Greece), and the South and East of Spain (Catalonia, Valencia and SE Aragon).

In all these places, illegal killing regularly takes place on a large scale, targeting species protected under EU and national law, as well as threatening the survival of the breeding populations of migratory birds. Unfortunately local authorities tend to keep a blind eye on poaching, or, as it has recently been the case in the Valencia Region, try to legalise it.

Within the project, the three BirdLife Partners have launched the ‘Leaving is Living’ campaign, which is aimed at explaining the right of migratory birds to migrate, as it is a crucial part of their life cycle, and that illegal killing of birds must stop. Supported by national celebrities, such as TV personalities, singers, actors and writers, the campaign released the first video of a series communicating the trauma inflicted on the natural world by poachers.

The selected blackspots are not the only areas where environmental crimes take place, so the Partners are also working on informing people and promoting active involvement in the issue. Diverse local events will be organised, targeting citizens and decision makers and a traveling exhibition will be set up in Greece and Spain. In local schools, workshops will raise students’ awareness about illegal killing and its impact on local and European biodiversity. Finally, national and international workshops will be held with Law Enforcement Agencies in each country to highlight the importance of these environmental crimes and to share experiences gained from other areas. Together these efforts will help ensure a safe passage and a future for migratory birds.

Europe and Central Asia Migratory Birds and Flyways - Europe and Central Asia


Please would you consider writing an article on the illegal killing of migrants in the Mediterranean or let us reproduce this one with full credits? Publication is 'Birds of Andalucia' by Andalucia Bird Society. See past sample copy here http://www.andaluciabirdsociety.org/images/stories/promotion/2013-autumn.pdf

Thanks for the comment Peter, feel free to reproduce the article. The more people who know about the issue the better!

How this is possible? In Europe. I feel ashamed....

I'm currently in Cyprus and the situation is also pretty bad, the laws are there but the enforcement is lacking as the relevant authorities are poorly trained. The good news though is that anti poaching patrols appear to be having a big impact in the Cape Greco area.

BirdLife Cyprus is particularly active on this issue and they run a number of campaigns fighting against illegal hunting and trapping as well as the destruction of habitats: http://www.birdlifecyprus.org/en

I was participating in Birdlife Malta autumn camp some years ago. Incredible the Maltese hunters shot on every flying birds and set up illegal traps etc . Unbeleivable that EU is that toothless as an organisation that it cannot prevent a member country from killing red.listed species in such a systematic way . It is so shameful. But here I also want to bring up the fact that many Maltese do not approve the hunting but they are afraid so as the Maltese hunters are behaving very aggresively and they directly threaten the ones who oppose to hunring , So let us nit blame the whole population. But I think and rally hope that Malta must be one of the darkest spot for illegalkilling of birds, iif there are still worse places in Europe it is terrible

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.