LibLink: Catherine Bearder: There will be no 12 days of Christmas if we lose the turtle dove

This year the turtle dove officially became an endangered species. Psssionate conservationist Catherine Bearder MEP, who’s been made the dove’s species champion by the RSPB, has written tot the Guardian about what we stand to lose:

Hunting is affecting turtle dove populations across their European breeding grounds. Every spring, hunters in Malta shoot and trap thousands of migratory birds as they fly over the island. Malta is now the only country in the EU that allows spring hunting of turtle doves. EU conservation laws ban the killing of endangered birds, but Malta still has a derogation to do so during the spring period. Several other countries also allow the hunting of turtle doves in the autumn.

Ever since he took office, I’ve been piling the pressure on the EU’s environment commissioner Karmenu Vella to demand that laws protecting turtle doves from illegal hunting are strengthened and properly enforced. These migratory birds belong to the whole of Europe. That is why we need strong EU laws to ensure they are protected at each stage of their journey. So I’m pleased that following this pressure the EU is taking Malta to court for breaking rules that protect birds.

What can be done to save the turtle dove?

Here the RSPB is working with local farmers to create more nesting and feeding habitat for turtle doves breeding grounds as part of Operation Turtle Dove – a partnership with Conservation Grade, Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, and Natural England. This vital project is developing practical solutions to reverse the decline in turtle dove numbers and help them to thrive. Their work is strengthened by the EU’s conservation laws which protect areas with precious natural habitats like Dungeness from overdevelopment. Together the Birds and Habitats directives, the backbone of the EU’s nature conservation policy, provide a powerful framework for protecting threatened species across Europe.

But the EU’s conservation laws are threatened by a review taking place next year:

That is why I have co-authored a European parliament report on the EU’s biodiversity strategy that makes it absolutely clear that European nature laws must be properly implemented and not watered down. The report was passed by MEPs on Tuesday, just three days before Christmas. Let’s hope it will help save the iconic turtle dove for many Christmases to come.

You can read the whole article here.

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4 Comments

  • Chris Burden 27th Dec '15 - 10:40pm

    Well done Catherine! You have my full support..

  • Alex Macfie 28th Dec '15 - 5:24pm

    John Marriott: It’s nothing to do with whether you are pro or anti EU. WHY does every discussion of EU law or policy have to be seen through that prism? Why can’t EU policy on specific issues be debated on their merits?

  • Richard Underhill 4th Jan '16 - 5:17pm

    How would Malta have voted on accession if they had not achieved this concession?

    £££ The Financial Times reports on 4/1/2016 that an overwhelmingly majority of economists think that the UK should remain in the EU.

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