…and Ibiza idiocy…The Balearic Islands, situated in the centre of the western Mediterranean, make them an important focus for bird migration in Southern Europe. But the idyllic location is not what it seems at first glance. The summer package trip tourists in their masses are replaced in spring and autumn by millions of song birds, raptors and waders from North and Central Europe. Unlike the tourists, who are cosseted for their financial contributions to the economy, the feathered visitors are greeted in many areas by bands of armed locals.
The facts are horrifying. More than 20 bird species, including thrushes, turtle doves, snipe and duck species are permitted to be shot from mid-October to the end of February. It is not unusual for protected species – from small song birds to rare raptors and vultures- to fall victim to the hunters’ guns. Some 24,000 hunters go out shooting regularly during migration on Mallorca and Ibiza.In addition to the hunters there are also some 3,000 licensed bird trappers who catch song birds for the pot in huge nets 10 x 5m in size. These are used above all in the montane woods of the Sierra Trimuntana and in the proximity of stretches of water where tens of thousands of thrushes meet their death every year. In addition small clutch traps, as used in Southern Italy, are set out.
Hunting with guns takes place primarily over the vast areas of the fincas, whose owners charge up to 1,000 Euros per hunter and year. As well-off Germans now own about a quarter of the fincas (and other foreigners are well represented as well), a great deal of this money flows into their pockets. This is the start point for the campaign by CABS and its partner organisation the Balearic Group of Ornithology and Defence of Nature (GOB) http://www.gobmallorca.com/queGOB/gobqang.htm. In contrast to many local farmers, foreigners, many of them prominent in their own country, don’t really need the extra income. GOB members therefore started to have discussions on the implementation of hunting-free zones with the managers and owners of large fincas this summer. Other than in many other countries (including Germany) it is possible in Spain to declare one’s property a hunting-free protection zone (refugio di caza). As many German owners are not aware of this fact, bi-lingual members of GOB advise them of their rights and assist them with the official formalities. The aim of this campaign - supported financially by CABS to the tune of 10,000 Euros – is to create large hunting-free corridors on Mallorca where migrant birds can rest and spend the winter undisturbed.
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Translated and distributed on behalf of CABS by David Conlin - Proact International http://www.proact-campaigns.net/team
4th July 2014