Europe and Central Asia
11 Jan 2016

Shifting into higher gear against illegal bird killing

The Batumi Raptor Crew team scouring the desert during the 2014 'Champions of the Flyway' race. Photo: Facebook/Champions of the Flyway
By Willem van den ...

With the release of our scientific review and report on the illegal killing of birds in the Mediterranean, BirdLife and our Partners were able to bring the issue into the spotlight.

Taking action to end illegal activities used to trap and kill these birds is in principle a matter for the national authorities. However, the BirdLife Partnership is dedicated to supporting this work through building the capacity of law enforcement institutions, facilitating dialogue between stakeholders, raising public and political awareness, monitoring illegal killing on the ground and learning from each other along the way. 

In particular, BirdLife Partners are currently working on a number of important initiatives to end illegal killing across the Mediterranean.

SPNI (BirdLife in Israel) will once again organize the “Champions of the Flyway” race in March 2016. This annual race, which began in 2014, aims to raise funds to tackle the illegal killing of birds in Europe. Teams from around the world come together and compete to observe and register as many bird species as possible within a 24 hour period. Each year, the funds collected go to a different NGO (in 2016 it will be HOS [BirdLife in Greece]).

BirdLife is also aiding dialogue with hunter organisations, governments and international conventions so that tailormade solutions can be found for the countries and regions affected. Dialogue will also allow for monitoring of changes to the situation over time and allow stakeholders to support and assess the impact of conservation measures, including the EU Birds Directive, Bern Convention, CMS, AEWA, Raptor MOU, BirdLife actions and other governmental actions such as the creation of the Intergovernmental Task Force to tackle illegal killing in the Mediterranean.

An EU action plan to tackle poisoning of birds, developed by SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain), RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) and other stakeholders will also be finalised and implemented in 2016.

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There are also ongoing projects that will continue into the new year. The Mediterranean Flyway Project funded by the MAVA Foundation aims to build a strong and dynamic network of NGOS across the Mediterranean region to work together to address illegal killing of birds through joint campaigns, capacity building workshops, and political lobbying. The project to Reducing Illegal Trapping on the Egyptian Coast, funded by the Nando Peretti Foundation, aims to better understand the causes and solutions to the issue of illegal trapping and killing on the Egyptian Coast.

2016 will also mark the year we scale up our efforts to end illegal killing globally. BirdLife will be expanding its research and conservation scope to the rest of Europe and the Middle East, working with more than 30 different BirdLife Partners.


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.