BirdLife: The Magazine Jan-Mar 2018 - Page 43

A VIEW TO A KILL In 2015, BirdLife lifted the lid on the shocking scale of illegal bird killing in the Mediterranean – with as many as 25 million birds stolen from the skies each year. In this second instalment, we turn our focus to Northern and Central Europe and the Caucasus – where a wide range of bird species are being slaughtered in huge numbers in the name of sport Gui-Xi Young A raven’s piercing call of distress was sent out by BirdLife in August 2015 with our publication of The Killing, in which we blew the whistle on the illegal killing and taking of birds in the Mediterranean. The deeply unsettling facts spoke for themselves: from the tortured fate of the Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana in France – ritualistically trapped, blinded, force- fed, drowned and dished-up as a gourmand’s idea of a ‘delicacy’ – to trapped migrant birds in the Italian Alps, cruelly imprisoned in darkness to create a ‘false spring’ so that their siren song would lure more birds to their agonising deaths. For reasons rooted in tradition, the Mediterranean has long been a noted haven for the unlawful shooting and trapping of birds. Yet The Killing stunned many by revealing the brutal scale and scope of the crime to be as high as 25 million birds each year. This number was based on the findings of a benchmark scientific review – the first to scientifically quantify the problem – led by BirdLife International with expert input from across the region. Shifting our eye to the rest of the continent, we now add potentially as many as 2.1 million slaughtered birds across Northern Europe, Central Europe and the Caucasus (see p. 46). Our new publication, The Killing 2.0: A View to a Kill – recently launched in Manila at CMS COP 12 (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species’ twelth Conference of Parties) – shows that the illegal killing of birds cannot be dismissed as a regional problem confined to the Mediterranean. Data from our latest scientific study, Illegal killing and taking of birds in Europe outside the Mediterranean: assessing the scope and scale of a complex issue (Brochet et al) shows this is a European problem taking place across the wider continent, with major kill zones in six ‘hotspot’ countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Germany and the Net W&G2ख6VG&WW&RBFR6V67W2FRG&fW"&VBVv&&BƖr2( 7'N( FVvVFW'2&W7V7BFRr֖&GF7&Vv&BBvFFV"v6VG'@( VFrFW&6( &V2&&VӲFRvVVVFFbGW&RVv6F琤V7FW&WW&V6VG&W27V62Vv'BB2&fr'&W67F&RG&rf F6R6VVrF6B&FV7FVB&&G2vFVGWW&66&VF'fV62FFRRWR2BG&FFǒVFVB&vW&RFW&RFV'&FV7FV@'rWBFW6G2bFW6RFVƖ6FP76W&W2&RVBV6V"vFFP6VG'( 2&&FW'2'f&VvVFW'2FVv琦VFW'2&W7V7@FRr( VFpFW&6( &V0&&VФ'FW&WW&R6G&Ɩrf7F'2&R@f&B676W&W2&RgFVW&6VfVB2( W7G>( &V6W6RFWfVVBw&7VGW&7&2FR֖vG&F'2vWfW"C