Albania: Massive Violations of Hunting Ban

Man with rifle on a horse cart

Bird hunter in the Buna delta in Albania.

© EuroNatur

Wildlife populations in danger of bleeding dry +++ Moratorium on hunting urgently has to be renewed +++ Comprehensive hunting reform needed


Press release, 20 January 2016

Radolfzell.  In spite of a nationwide ban on hunting in Albania, wildlife is being killed in huge numbers. In the past two months alone, Albanian nature conservation NGOs documented more than 1500 cases of illegal hunting. The dark figure is probably much higher. This also affects protected and endangered species. And the situation is about to escalate: The number of wildlife crimes is likely to increase significantly until spring, as that’s when huge flocks of resting migratory birds gather in the country’s wetlands. “We call on the Albanian government to immediately put a stop to these criminal doings, as otherwise the country’s wildlife as well as Central European populations of numerous bird species are in danger of bleeding dry slowly but surely. The present moratorium on hunting has to be prolonged and strictly enforced”, says Gabriel Schwaderer, executive director of the international conservation foundation EuroNatur.

The hunting ban entered into force in March 2014 and was limited to two years. This long overdue step was triggered by a massive decline in wildlife in Albania and initially led to a significant drop in hunting activities in 2014. Wildlife populations immediately started to recover, but this positive beginning is now at stake. Particularly over the past months the number of offences soared dramatically. Moreover, the ban on hunting is scheduled to end on 15 March 2016.

“Albanian wildlife is still on a catastrophically low level with regard to population size”, explains EuroNatur project leader Thies Geertz. “For changing course, the Albanian government has to press ahead with the comprehensive hunting reform that is already in process. This absolutely has to include a monitoring of huntable species that complies with international standards. Hunting quotas and lists of game must no longer be pulled out of thin air. Further, establishing solid controls and punishing violations is essential”, says Thies Geertz. In order to be able to establish these prerequisites, it’s absolutely necessary that the countrywide total hunting moratorium persists for at least two more years.

Background information:

Cooperating with local conservation NGOs, EuroNatur is engaging mainly in two big programmes to protect wildlife in Albania:

Protecting migratory birds and their habitats along the Adriatic Flyway

Protecting the last Balkan lynxes

For further information please contact: EuroNatur, Konstanzer Str. 22, D-78315 Radolfzell, Tel.: +49/7732 - 92 72 10, Fax: +49/7732 - 92 72 22, E-Mail:, Internet:, contact person: Thies Geertz, press contact: Katharina Grund



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