Successfully completed Workshops of relevant agencies and services in Zakynthos and Corfu to tackle the spring poaching of birds in the Ionian Islands. The goal is to develop Local Action Plans to eliminate an offending activity that persists over time, irreversibly affecting a globally endangered species and the Ionian’s reputation as an international tourist destination.
Organized by the Ministry of Environment and Energy , in cooperation with the Greek Ornithological Society under the program LIFE «Awareness and Skills Development against Crime against Wild Birds in priority countries along migratory routes,” the Workshops held in Zakynthos (21 January) and Corfu (January 23).
Invited were the competent bodies and services (Local Authorities, Forestry Directorates Management Bodies of Protected Areas, Hunting Associations and Federations, Security Forces), so as to establish Local Action Plans to coordinate in tackling spring poaching , a phenomenon that is “booming” in the Ionian Islands, especially in Zakynthos, Paxos – Antipaxos, Corfu and the Dipontian Islands. This initiative has been warmly welcomed, as no such effort has ever been made in the recent past by all the actors involved in the matter.
Every spring, in contravention of current law and with the practice of “traditional” alibi, hundreds of guns target migratory birds, which reach their peak, having burned all their fat after a long journey from sub-Saharan Africa. Many are now a globally threatened species , with an immediate risk of extinction in the medium term. Hunting in the spring, at the breeding season, is really criminal , as it kills the best generators, the most durable ones who managed to survive crossing the desert and the Mediterranean. Each dead spring bird is equivalent to a multiple number of “lost” birds, since it failed to breed.
Hunting in the spring is being prosecuted in accordance with Forest Law hunting provisions, but law enforcement faces obstacles, both due to the lack of effective planning, tools and coordination, and mainly to the pressure exerted by poachers on local society and authorities. , but also because of an economic activity around poaching.
As stated by Nikos Bokaris , Head of Wildlife Management Department and Hunting of the Ministry of Environment, “From the positions of the representatives of the competent Forest Service, the Hunting Organizations and Management Bodies revealed the need for organizing a more effective supervisory and control system of spring poaching in the Ionian Islands. Particularly when spring hunting has become uncontrolled, effective safeguarding and the immediate cooperation of all stakeholders within a Local Action Plan, which will make use of all available human resources to protect migrant biodiversity, is particularly important. international treaties and obligations under national and Community law. “
Representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, ORNITOLOGY, Zakynthos Forestry Directorate, Decentralized Administration of the Peloponnese, Western Greece and the Ionian, the Ionian University, the Cynthia Zionigou
The disposition of all those present to tackle spring poaching gives a note of optimism. It is not a problem without a solution – and it was clear at the two meetings that it was clear that all the relevant services, because of their long experience in the field, know exactly what needs to be done to address them . The Ministry of Environment and Energy must listen to and support them to the utmost in order to finally effectively address this chronic problem that exposes the country internationally, “ said Manolia Vougioukalou , Coordinator of the LIFE Against Crime Act the Hellenic Ornithological Society.
And he goes on to call for effective law enforcement: “Ornithologic, during the spring poaching period, receives countless calls from citizens but also troubled tourists, especially Zakynthos and Paxos, who can not afford it. outright illegal activity is carried out in the light of day and tolerated by everyone. The success of the Local Action Plans will be judged by the outcome, but it remains a very positive initiative of the Ministry of Environment and Energy. The migration of Trygons will begin shortly, and we will be watching closely to see if the willingness to tackle the problem raised at the meetings will turn into meaningful action. “
The legal framework is there, the consensus is there, it is time to finally see results.
The workshops were held in the framework of the LIFE Program “Awareness-raising and Capacity Building Against Wild Birds in Priority Countries Along the Migration Paths” (LIFE17 GIE / NL / 000599), funded by the LIFE contribution European Union, co-funded by the MAVA Foundation and beneficiaries’ own resources. The implementation period of the Program is 3.5 years (1st September 2018 – 28th February 2022) and is supported by an alliance of national partners of BirdLife International from Croatia, Cyprus, Greece and Italy, and is coordinated by BirdLife Europe and Central Asia.
source – ornithologiki.gr/