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Quell Quail Slaughter

Hunting tourism comes under fire

Leading conservation NGOs in Serbia and Montenegro are petitioning their government to ban the hunting of Common Quail Coturnix coturnix and Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur, after research showed that massive numbers of these species are the victims of organised hunting tourism. Declining in most of Europe, and fully protected in neighbouring countries, under Serbian law both species may be hunted from 1 August to 30 September.

Traditionally, the two species are of little interest to local hunters and are mainly offered as game birds to visiting foreign hunters (predominantly from Italy). In order to satisfy the demands of their customers, hunting agencies often use tape recorders, prohibited by both Serbian law and the Bern Convention. Also widespread is the illegal use of pump-action guns able to take more than two cartridges, said Dragan Simic, Chair of the League for Ornithological Action of Serbia and Montenegro.Possibly more than 90% of all the Quails in the country, mainly in the northern Vojvodina province, are killed using these illegal techniques, enabling a single hunter to kill 300 Quails in a morning. Like Quails, Turtle Doves are mainly killed in Vojvodina province by visiting foreign hunters.

Marko Tucakov, Committee Member of the Bird Protection and Study Society of Vojvodina, added that it is also not unusual for protected species to fall victim. We know that threatened Corncrakes are being killed, and we fear that the number might be fairly high, but hunting inspectors are unable ? or unwilling ? to control commercial shooting organised for visiting clients by hunting tour agencies.

The Bird Protection and Study Society of Vojvodina and League for Ornithological Action of Serbia and Montenegro have proposed a permanent hunting ban on both species, as well as removal from the country`s game bird lists and inclusion in the List of Natural Rarities.

4th July 2014