Save Bird Populations from Hunting in Albania

Target: Fatmir Mediu, Minister of Environment – Albanian Forests & Water Administration

Goal: Protect the diversity of migratory bird populations that rest and breed in protected Albanian areas

The Divjakë Pines National Park and the Karavasta Lagoon along the coast of Albania are important for migratory birds.  They serve as vital resting spots for birds making their way up the Adriatic Flyway to rest and breed during the winter. The Karavasta Lagoon is the largest lagoon in Albania and one of the largest in the Mediterranean Sea. A system of wetlands, lakes, and coastal plains make up this ecoregion supporting many species. Threatened Dalmatian Pelicans nest in the lagoon, along with Common Cranes, Pygmy Cormorants, Little Terns, and Collared Pratincoles.

Unfortunately, both Albanian and foreign hunters pose great danger to the migratory birds of this area. The Divjakë-Karavasta National Park has been designated as an Area of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands since 1995 but hunting bans have not been adequately enforced. Hunters have killed record numbers of migratory birds in Albania by employing high quality MP3 playbacks of recorded birdcalls, a practice which is illegal in protected areas.

Bird conservationists refer to Albania as a ‘sinkhole’ for migratory bird populations, as many fly into the country seeking critical resting area but few get out alive. Hunters are indiscriminate about the species and ages of the birds they are killing. Often juvenile birds who have not reached breeding age are easiest shooting targets because they fly lower to the ground. Birds are K-selected organisms, expending high cost in reproduction for a lower number or slowly maturing offspring that require increased parental investment, therefore killing them before they are able to reproduce is highly detrimental for the preservation of their species.

Sign this petition urging the Albanian Minister of Environment to legally enforce a hunting ban in Divjakë-Karavasta National Park and to promote non-consumptive sports and hobbies such as birdwatching and photography.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister of Environment Fatmir Mediu, Albanian Forests & Water Administration

The unique habitat of Divjakë-Karavasta National Park is an International Area of Importance as designated by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which the Albanian government signed in 1995 in agreement to protect migratory bird species relying on this special ecoregion. I urge Albania to honor its international obligation to conserve the many species resting and breeding at this site by enforcing laws against hunting migratory birds in protected areas.

Indiscriminate hunters are illegally killing birds that are threatened per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List and they also risk decimating bird populations by shooting non-breeding juveniles. Having a park ranger report poachers to the police  would retain the unique biodiversity found in Divjakë-Karavasta National Park so that future generations of Albanians and visitors may enjoy it.

I encourage you to promote the non-consumptive value of migratory birds by encouraging the public to use the area for sustainable sports and hobbies such as birdwatching and photography. Preserving bird populations will give people in Albania the opportunity to share and expand their knowledge of nature, provide a source of national pride, and foster stewardship toward shared natural resources. Please consider the interests of the community and do not deprive these animals of a safe breeding and resting site in the Mediterranean.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: jonnobird via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Ruth Rogers says:

    Signed.

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