Europe and Central Asia

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10 good reasons to protect the Directives

  • Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni

    Between the 1960s and 1990s, its population declined by about 95% due to habitat degradation from agricultural intensification and abandonment, driven by European agricultural policies. Through improved legislation and management, kestrels are coming back across Europe, where there are now about 26,000 pairs. Spain, Italy and Greece hold 85% of the population. 

  • Golden Jackal - Canis aureus

    Thanks to legal protection, decreased hunting pressure through the prohibition of poisoning and leg-hold traps, as well as other factors, the Golden Jackal has increased in abundance and recolonised areas from where it was extirpated. 

    Healthy populations can now be found in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, and Greece.

  • Eurasian Lynx - Lynx lynx

    The Eurasian Lynx is the largest European felid and the widest ranging species of its genus. Hunting pressure and deforestation decimated the population across its natural range in Europe.

    But thanks to strong conservation measures and increased legal protection, the abundance of this species has quadrupled over the last 50 years. 

  • White-tailed Eagle - Haliaeetus albicilla

    After a catastrophic decline over the last two centuries, legal protection, habitat conservation and banning of DDT have brought the White-tailed Eagle back.

    The European population has risen from around 2,000 pairs to about 10,000, and is rapidly increasing with many regions being recolonised.

  • Eurasian Spoonbill - Platalea leucorodia

    The Eurasian Spoonbill declined dramatically after the 19th century, mostly because of habitat loss. But with the majority of its breeding sites placed under protection across Europe and improved management, the population is steadily increasing along with evidence of recolonization and range expansion. Today, there are about 1,600 breeding pairs in Spain, 1,400 in Hungary and 1,600 in Romania.

  • Southern Chamois -  Rupicapra pyrenaica

    The Southern or Pyrenean Chamois is increasing in distribution and abundance after recovering from historical lows; only ~50 were left in the 1940s because of uncontrolled hunting. But better management in Italy, France, and Spain have saved the species. While the outlook remains positive, continued monitoring in France and Spain and targeted conservation management in Italy are key to ensuring its continued success.

  • Loggerhead Sea Turtle - Caretta caretta

    The loggerhead is one of the most widespread of all the marine turtles and also the most highly migratory, with individuals known to cross the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In Europe, sea turtles and their nesting habitats in the Mediterrenean are currently protected by the Habitats Directive. Strict nature legislation and management plans have managed to stop their decline, stabilising populations in Europe.

  • Dalmatian Pelican - Pelecanus crispus

    The Dalmatian Pelican is a globally threatened species that suffered large declines over the last centuries because of habitat loss and degradation and persecution. It was driven extinct in most of Europe, but has benefitted from targeted conservation measures and has shown a remarkable recovery, especially in Greece, where two new colonies have become established over the last decade.

  • Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus

    The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest member of the animal kingdom, flying at speeds of over 320 km/h (200 mph). In the '60s and '70s, it suffered dramatic declines because of organochlorine chemicals. Following the ban of these toxic products, and with improved management, they have recovered worldwide. There are now about 13,900 pairs in Europe but they are still under threat from illegal persecution and need continuous protection.

  • Common Seal -  Phoca vitulina

    Despite its name, during the last 100 years, intense hunting and disease caused its decline in Europe. Although disease and pollution still threaten the species, hunting legislation, habitat protection and improved management have helped increase numbers (now over 81,000) in most of Europe. The largest European populations occur in waters around the UK and Wadden Sea.




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.