Despite legal protections and promises of a “zero tolerance” to illegal killing, birds are still not safe to fly throughout the Mediterranean. Laws to protect birds are being rolled back. Fines and punishments, if any, are not severe enough to deter hunters and in some places, they are even being reduced.
Hunting the European Turtle-dove during its breeding season is forbidden by EU law. Despite this, the species has declined by 30% throughout Europe in the last 20 years, and in some countries by as much as 90% in the same period.
More than one million European Turtle-doves are still illegally killed each year.
Despite being in severe decline, the spring hunting ban in Malta was lifted last year, during the European Turtle-dove’s migration and breeding season. In Greece, it’s estimated over 70,000 birds are illegally slaughtered each spring on the Ionian islands.
BirdLife and our Partners are committed to reducing illegal killing of birds by 50% by 2030. We must fight together to demand that governments act, and we must work with communities to protect vulnerable birds.