I have been planning to write something enthusiastic for the readers of the WorldWaders News Blog as there would be a reason for celebration. Today WorldWaders celebrates its 3rd birthday. I set this blog up to raise public awareness of the many different conservation issues, related to shorebirds, as well as the importance of the shorebird conservation research. I also aimed to share great achievements which we had several times.
Today is a bit different. Today one of our supporters drew my attention to several photographs which chased away all my intention to celebrate. When a bird conservationist sees images of mass ‘hunted’ birds, the remained enthusiasm vanishes. Just two days after I posted to my personal birding blog about the great project named ‘From Billions to None‘, I found these images…
There are many more similar images published on the hunter Facebook page, but I don’t need to publish all of them to see the critical level of bird slaughter in the Middle East, just like in the Mediterranean. This hunting behaviour is far beyond the ‘hunting for living’ philosophy. It is simply a sport, a way of spending time and money by a hunter. Apparently these hunters have nothing to do with starvation and such a mass killing of those birds is way unnecessary.
However these images are not simply about a hunting issue which should be solved but the legislation and implementation of relevant laws. I mean the LACK of relevant laws. Do those hunters know the conservation status of any of the shot species? Do they even know the international conservation status of each species exists? Does the government of Lebanon and other Middle East countries fully aware of species status of shot birds? Looking at those images am not sure anymore. While the western countries are spending millions of Euros, Pounds or Dollars for fancy conservation projects, a simple Malta case cannot be resolved for more than a decade now. Are we, NGOs, strong enough to make a difference if issues cannot be sorted out by the European Parliament? The conservation of the modern era is not about installing nest boxes for tits in a tiny forest. Today conservation is pure politics, unfortunately. It requires aggressive lobbying to make some achievements. The Malta case clearly represents it. There could be arguments with my possibly unpopular comments but I think a different approach is needed today to make a difference. Different approach from both the governmental as well as from non-profit organizations.
I am not a real and effective lobbyist but what I, and many other like-minded, see is that the illegal (we say that) hunting is a very hot issue what nobody dare to scratch. What if these images are the mirrors of the Passenger Pigeon story. We cannot fully blame global warming as the main root cause of population declines of shorebirds. Place population trends next to the images of these dead birds and think about how on Earth we could kill 2-3 billion Passenger Pigeons within a few decades?
Will Northern Lapwing be the next ‘Passenger Pigeon’? We far do not have a billion Northern Lapwings!!!
By the way: Thanks for your great support to follow this blog initiative. Here in the comment field tell us what you think of this blog! Sorry for the bitter taste celebration…