Illegal killing of birds
Across Europe, birds suffer from a wide range of illegal persecution: illegal poisoning, shooting, trapping, and the theft of chicks for the bird trade are common practices. In some cases it can explain the decline of specific bird populations and therefore it endangers the cosystems these bird species belong. That is why BirdLife Europe made "tackling illegal killing of birds" a mission for our Partnership.
Our experts collect data on the ground in collaboration with our national Partners and organise and participate to high-level conservation summits to raise other experts' awarness about this issue. In Brussels our policy team advocates on the issue in the European Institutions and at local level our Partners take paliative measures and test solutions to different killing practices and to limit their damage on biodiversity. Four examples from Partners in Europe:
- In Hungary, illegal killing of birds threatens rare majestic birds
- In Greece and Cyprus, poisoned bait targeting wild animals is killing rare birds
- The French fashion of ‘chemical treatment campaigns’ endangers birds
- In Malta, hunting of endangered birds during the migratory season remains an issue
Over the last decade in Hungary, more than a thousand protected birds have been poisoned including White-tailed Eagles, Saker Falcons, and Common Buzzards. More birds have been, and still are, the victims of other illegal practices, such as trapping or shooting. MME (BirdLife in Hungary) coordinates a Life+ project (co-financed by the EU) in cooperation with eight other organisations, aimed at supporting the slow growth of the Eastern Imperial Eagle population in Hungary, and more widely, at finding solutions to control illegal hunting of birds.
In Greece and Cyprus, poisoned bait against carnivores are a very common practice. However, it causes huge damageable to wildlife overall and especially to birds. For example, it has been a key factor in the decline of the Griffon Vulture population in Cyprus, now on the brink of extinction. BirdLife Cyprus, together with three Partners in Cyprus and Greece, will implement the “Cross Border Cooperation Programme Greece-Cyprus” (co-funded by the European Commission and Greek national funds), launched in 2011, with the ambition of restoring the Griffon Vulture population in Cyprus.
Despite the alarm sounded by LPO (BirdLife in France) about the damage they cause to wildlife in the French region of Auvergne, ten new French regions have asked the French Ministry of Agriculture to implement, in their territories, chemical treatment campaigns targeting rodents, like the vole and wild carnivores, such as foxes, ferrets and others weasels. LPO is actively advocating for the French government to stop the treatment campaigns and to implement measures ensuring the protection of Red Kite, the main victim of these "treatment campaigns".
In Malta, carcasses of protected birds, including Gulls, Ospreys, Western Marsh-harriers, Common Kestrels, Common Swifts and European Bee-eaters, can be discovered through out the island. Illegal hunting of birds is a tradition in the country that seems difficult to put an end to. For several years BirdLife Malta has been leading a campaign against illegal hunting and trapping activities. Actions include the coordination of two annual conservation camps: Spring Watch in April and Raptor Camp in September.
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.