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Dalmatian Pelicans illegally shot in Romania

SOR (BirdLife in Romania) recently received evidence of illegal hunting activities taking place in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. At least eight dead or injured birds were found in the Uzlina area of the Danube Delta. The dead birds were Vulnerable Dalmatian Pelicans Pelecanus crispus and Pygmy Cormorants Phalacrocorax pygmaeus. 
 
The two species are strictly protected from hunting by Romanian legislation, and accidental shooting can be ruled out because the species that were shot are easy to identify. The fact that their killing occurred in a protected area also increases the severity of the case. The Danube Delta is a Biosphere Reserve, a Ramsar site (Wetland of International Importance), and a Natura 2000 site (Special Protected Area). The Romanian Dalmatian Pelican population is one of the most important in Europe, estimated at around 400 breeding pairs, of which four individuals were shot. Romania is also home to nearly half the world’s population of Pygmy Cormorant.

SOR is expressing its opposition and deep concern regarding the failure to enforce hunting legislation in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.

“This type of abusive hunting, where the culprits are usually unidentified, tends to be recurrent in this area and can be considered a direct attack on its unique biodiversity”, said Ciprian Fântână, Conservation Director at SOR. The Romanian BirdLife Partner has notified the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Administration, the Regional Environment Protection Agency, the Environment Ministry and the Regional Game Associations. All these institutions are responsible for law enforcement and are empowered to find and sanction those responsible for the illegal hunting activities in the Danube Delta.

“The fact that deliberate massacre of Globally Threatened Dalmatian Pelican is still taking place in Europe is a clear call for more efforts to educate and enforce control on the side of authorities, but media and civil society must play their part too”, said Boris Barov, European Conservation Manager at the European Division. “Such appalling news reminds us how deep-rooted hunting is in human behaviour - despite many years of conservation and awareness-raising work”.

The Dalmatian Pelican is qualified as a ‘Nature Monument’ in Romania, listed in Annex I of the EU Birds Directive, and is classified as Vulnerable by BirdLife - the Red List Authority for birds on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

4th July 2014