Culture, Heritage and Diversity

Bern Convention

Illegal Killing of Birds

The issue of illegal killing, trapping and trading of birds in Mediterranean Parties has been regularly on the Agenda of the meetings of the Standing Committee to the Bern Convention in the recent past.

At its 30th meeting, in December 2010, the Standing Committee concluded that illegal killing of birds is still carried out, and in some Contracting Parties it is a growing phenomenon; it realised that the implementation of national legislation is often weak; that the issue also involves other transversal questions like the transit of the killed and captured birds through third countries, the difficulty to identify the illegally killed species; the capture of endangered species; the need for countries to co-operate and to work with nature conservation NGOs; the need for proper enforcement with appropriate penalties at all levels.

Expressing its deep concern on the extent and negative trends of illegal taking and trading of birds in the European continent, the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention has promoted the organisation of a "European Conference on illegal killing of birds", held in Larnaca, Cyprus, on 6-8 July 2011.

The European Conference on Illegal Killing of Birds, organised by the Council of Europe in co-operation with the Game Fund of Cyprus (Ministry of Interior) gathered over 100 participants representing various stakeholders, including Contracting Parties and Observers to the Bern Convention, international organizations, national and local authorities, enforcement agencies, nature conservation NGOs including hunting associations, scientific and research bodies, tourism industry, police authorities and mass-media.

The Conference marked a turn-over in tackling the issue of illegal taking and trading of birds, by launching a long-term process aiming at enhancing national and international cooperation and coordination in this field, fostering adequate enforcement of existing legislation, sharing good practices and setting the basis for an appropriate monitoring process.

The Conference stressed that there is no single solution, but a combination of techniques, actions, measures and strategies is urgently required as many birds species in Europe and worldwide are declining rapidly.

The key message from the Participants in the European Conference is Zero tolerance toward illegal killing of birds.

The European Conference delivered the “Larnaca Declaration”, presented to the Press during a press conference, as well as a Draft Recommendation to be submitted to the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention for possible adoption at its 31st meeting (29 November – 2 December 2011).

Larnaca Declaration

Recommendation on Illegal Killing, Trapping and Trade of wild birds - Rec(2011)155E

Questionnaire for the reporting of Parties to the Bern Convention on the implementation of the action points listed in the Budapest declaration on bird protection and power lines - T-PVS/Inf(2012)20

Questionnaire for the reporting of Parties on illegal killing of birds - T-PVS/Inf(2012)21

Meeting information

Meeting Report - T-PVS(2011)09E

Recommendation No. 90 (2001) on the catching, killing or trading of protected birds in Cyprus

Recommendation No. 5 (1986) on the prosecution of persons illegally catching, killing or trading in protected birds

Recommendation No. 128 (2007) on Hunting and Biodiversity

Legal Aspects
National reports - T-PVS/Inf(2011)11

Review of the illegal killing and trapping of birds in Europe - A report by the BirdLife Partnership - T-PVS/Inf(2011)13E

European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity

Social, Educational and Cultural aspects
Human dimensions as a tool for bird conservation. Report 2011 - T-PVS/Inf(2011)12E

Questionnaire on illegal killing, trapping and trade of birds

"Hen harriers and red grouse: moving towards consensus?" (Journal of Applied Ecology 2009, 46, 961–963)

Forum article "Hen harriers and red grouse: science, politics and human-wildlife conflicts" (Journal of Applied Ecology)

"Using Decision Modeling with Stakeholders to Reduce Human-Wildlife Conflict: a Raptor-Grouse Case Study" deen University (Conservation Biology. Volume 18 No. 2, April 2004) - Acknowledgments: Professor Steve Redpath, Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability (ACES), Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Aber

Session 1
Illegal killing of birds in the European Union

Illegal killing of birds in Bern Convention’s Contracting Parties: the NGO perspective - BirdLife International

Illegal bird killing: a European hunters’ perspective - FACE

Illegal killing of birds in Cyprus: a national perspective - Game Fund

Session 2
Illegal killing of birds in the Adriatic Flyway - EuroNatur

The trapping situation in Cyprus - BirdLife Cyprus

Collateral impacts of trapping on tourism and proposals to overcome them (PowerPoint Presentation) - Terra Cypria

Collateral impacts of trapping on tourism and proposals to overcome them (Executive Summary) - Terra Cypria

Stopping the poaching of Honey Buzzards and other migrating raptors in South Italy: a success story - LIPU

The role of the hunters in Cyprus - Federation of Hunting and Wildlife Conservation in Cyprus

Session 3
How do hunting associations in Greece effectively confront and control poaching - Hellenic Hunters’ Confederation

Illegal killing of birds of prey in the UK: Conservation impacts and possible solutions - DEFRA and RSPB

The enforcement of the legislation to eliminate bird crime – The Slovak experience since 2000 - Ministry of Interior and Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic

Trapping in the Sovereign British Areas in Cyprus - SBA

Illegal killing of birds in Malta - BirdLife Malta

Ortolan bunting trapping in South West France - LPO Aquitaine

Control of illegal bird trapping practices in Spain - Communication by Spain

Session 4 (Working Groups)
How to make legislation and enforcement more effective - Ms Clare Shine, Institute for European Environmental Policy

Biological Aspects - Dr. Fernando Spina, Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research

How to understand and involve people in bird conservation - Ms Beatrice Frank, Department of Geography, Memorial University, Canada

Other Related Publications
Protecting birds from power lines (Nature and environment series No. 140, 2005)

Effects of wind farms on birds (Nature and environment, No. 139, 2004)

Useful links
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