Europe and Central Asia
12 Sep 2014

An urgent change in the law is needed to protect Common Quails and Turtle Doves in Serbia

Illegal electronic devices used to attract Quails, by BPSSS - BirdLife Affiliate in Serbia.
By Alessia Calderalo

As many other bird species in Europe, the Common Quail and the Turtle Dove are being victims of a common practice that brings only concerns to the bird lovers: an uncontrolled hunting for which the laws seem not to be sensitive enough.

In Serbia, where Common Quails and Turtle Doves are considered game birds, these species are being direct victims of this excessively lax law and the threatening practices have led both species into a worrying trend of decrease. In their efforts to overcome these terrible effects, the Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia (BPSSS - BirdLife Affiliate in Serbia) has given voice to these common concerns advocating for a legislative change. Our partner, with a strong support of other conservation organisations, has officially requested the Serbian Ministries of Agriculture and Environmental Protection for these two species to enlarge the list of protected birds in the country and abandon their status of game birds. Sadly, the efforts have fallen on deaf ears in both 2003 and 2012.

The problem, however, does not only affect the Common Quail and the Turtle Dove, but is also bringing a wide range of conservation issues, going from the massive usage of electronic devices to attract birds to an overall lack of proper management that leads into an overexploitation of many species.

In their unflagging efforts to address this issue, BPSSS supporters have recently engaged in a series of actions to help the police and the inspectors in several cases of illegal hunting. Milan Ružić, BPSSS Vice-president, said that thanks to a strong public campaign, the cases of illegal hunting are becoming increasingly reported in the Serbian media outlets, and the general awareness of the society is rising up.

Are these steps a sign that something is progresively changing for a better protection of the Common Quail and Turtle Dove populations? Certainly yes. Despite the fact that there is still a long way to go, we are in the right direction, and we hope that the efforts being made by BirdLife partners for the birds and their habitats will soon see their full blossom.




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