Europe and Central Asia
23 Jun 2017

'Mighty oaks from little acorns grow'

Acorn © Shutterstock
By BirdLife Europe & Central Asia

Our partners BirdLife Cyprus, BirdLife Malta and LIPU (Italy) have worked together very productively in the initial phases of a project to reduce illegal trapping of birds in the Mediterranean.


“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”  Or as Chaucer wrote in 1374, “as an oak cometh of a litel spyr (sapling)”.  At BirdLife Europe & Central Asia, this week we recognize that from Oak Foundation’s generous support, together with our partners BirdLife Cyprus, BirdLife Malta and LIPU (BirdLife in Italy) we have worked together very productively in the initial phases of a project to reduce illegal trapping in Italy, Cyprus and Malta. The ‘little acorns’ of the individual partners’ efforts to tackle the scourge of illegal killing of birds have, with Oak’s support, now joining that of others like the MAVA Foundation and the European Commission, been strengthened and nourished through the BirdLife collaboration, and with considerable knowledge exchange with the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK).

In Malta, yesterday and today (22/23 June 2017), a joint CMS (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species) and Bern Convention workshop is taking place in which these BirdLife partners will be sharing best practice and lessons learned to address the crisis of IKB (Illegal Killing of Birds) in the Mediterranean.

This exchange will include sharing our strategy of encompassing information gathering, support for law enforcement and targeted & mass communications to build partnership and public awareness.  From successfully identifying and mapping critical locations of criminal activity to directly removing traps and releasing birds, the three BirdLife partners have also managed to gather intelligence of very high quality which has been directly useful to law enforcement agencies in the identification and prosecution of the criminals involved.  Complemented by popular education and outreach activities, reflecting an increasing public support for nature conservation, a focus on engaging young people will ultimately provide the cultural change needed to successfully address this issue.

Thanks to Oak Foundation’s investment, complementing what has come before, all these acorns are coming together such that we believe a mightily successful outcome is underway.


Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.