Sunday, 1 December 2013

Concern over migrant birds prompts international response

In recent months, the indiscriminate and unsustainable killing of migrant birds in North Africa has become an issue of public concern in a growing number of countries.  There has been widespread hunting and trapping of migratory birds in Egypt and also Libya, especially through the use of mist nets along large stretches of the Mediterranean coast. In response, the BirdLife Partnership, Government Agencies, the Convention on Migratory Species and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds have rapidly moved to address the situation.

“Bird trapping in these countries is an ancient tradition. The main target species, Common Quail, is a local delicacy”, said Marcus Kohler, BirdLife’s Senior Programme Manager for Flyways.

“It’s a legitimate way for local people to supplement their diet. However, the indiscriminate nature and scale of the trapping has now reached worrying proportions and is having an impact upon other species.”

It’s not only Quail that are caught; many other species, such as European Turtle-dove and Red-backed Shrike, are also trapped as ‘bycatch’ in significant numbers. The increasing use and magnitude of mist net trapping is a new and worrying development.

Current estimates are that millions of birds are caught each autumn as they leave Europe and Asia for their wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa.

To read the full Birdlife International article with videos click here.

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