Ending the illegal killing of birds

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The Problem

Every year across the world, millions of birds are illegally slaughtered on their migration journey. From the majestic Eastern Imperial Eagle to the tiny Eurasian Blackcap, an enormous range of species are shot, tangled in nets or trapped by glue. They are killed for sport, food or ill-informed “pest” control. This practice has a devastating effect on species that are already under pressure from habitat loss or food shortage, at a time when they are at their most exhausted and vulnerable.

How do we know?

In 2015, BirdLife lifted the lid on the size and scale of the crisis in a ground-breaking report which was summarised in The Killing, which found that around 25 million birds are illegally slaughtered every year in the Mediterranean region alone. Our 2017 follow-up, summarised in The Killing 2.0 – a View to a Kill confirmed that the practice is also rife in Northern Europe, Central Europe and the Caucasus, with threats including “hunting tourism” and ill-informed "pest" control. Our third report, focusing on the Arabian Peninsula, is expected to come out in 2019.

What are we doing?

Our national partners are working tirelessly to stamp out illegal bird killing. We are guarding the most at-risk sites and campaigning for stricter enforcement of hunting laws. We also recognise the importance of education in changing the minds of local people. Whether it’s the children’s birding book striving to change the hunting culture in Cyprus, or the German conservationists who share live updates on the migration journeys of satellite-tracked White Storks, we are striving towards a world where people cherish and protect the birds passing through their countries on their way to the next. We also have regional work, including tackling illegal killing in Europe and ending illegal killing in the Mediterranean.

Flight for Survival

This February, we launched a campaign to raise awareness of this urgent issue. Flight for Survival follows the journeys of seven iconic bird species as they migrate between Europe and Africa, shining a light on the illegal killing “blackspots” they pass through on their way. Find out more and offer your support on the Flight for Survival website.