At long last: The EU bans lead shot in wetland areas

Good news for Europe’s water birds: hunting in wetlands with toxic lead shot is to be banned. So, every year in the EU about 1.5 million water birds are saved from completely unnecessary death from lead poisoning. EuroNatur and its partner organisations from all over Europe have been campaigning hard for this ban.

Male garganey on a lake

Millions of water birds, including rarities such as the garganey, are likely to benefit from this ban.

© René Bürgisser

On 3rd September the EU states agreed to a proposal by the European Commission to ban hunting with lead shot in wetlands. This had been preceded by a year of discussions in which the German Federal government had raised unreasonable objections. The Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture blocked the proposal at the beginning of July by abstaining. In the past weeks a broad range of nature conservation organisations, including EuroNatur, had been calling on the minister, Julia Klöckner, to change her position.

Dr. Stefan Ferger, leader of the migratory bird project at EuroNatur, welcomed the decision in Brussels: “The ban on lead shot in wetland areas will save the lives of millions of birds each year, and will save our ecosystems from pollution by tons of highly poisonous lead. It is another victory for common sense and the science behind the protection of nature and consumers. There now needs to be a general ban on lead ammunition in all habitats.”

This ban should put an end to the large scale and painful killing above all of water birds. It is above all geese and ducks which take the minute lead shot from the water and the areas along the banks. They mistake the deadly lead shot for small stones which they need for digestion. Even some carrion feeders such as the White-tailed Eagle die from the consumption of contaminated prey.

How you can help


Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to a more livable environment.

Sustaining membership

EuroNatur focuses on long-term nature conservation projects instead of quick fixes. With your regular donations, you give us the planning security we need.


Ongoing airport construction in Albania causes extreme concern at Bern Convention

++ Bern Convention urges Albanian government to stop construction works in protected Vjosa/Narta area – again ++ Planned Vlora airport near Narta…

The entire Aoos River in Greece and its tributaries are now protected

An important step was taken today by the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy with the designation of part of the catchment area of the…

Milestone for the protection of European forests on EU-level

The EU forest monitoring law emphasises common standards for the systematic collection of data which aligns with EuroNatur’s stance advocating for the…

Still plenty of room for improvement in the Western Balkans

There is still a long way to go for all the countries of the Western Balkans if they want to become members of the EU - especially when it comes to…

EuroNatur Award 2023: Signal of support for the protection of rivers in Poland

++ Polish Save the Rivers Coalition has received the EuroNatur Award ++ Odra expansion must be halted ++ Optimism for nature conservation in Poland…

EuroNatur Award for Polish Save the Rivers Coalition

++ This year's EuroNatur Award goes to Koalicja Ratujmy Rzeki ++ The award is also a political signal for more nature conservation in Poland and all…

Illegal garbage dumps cause conflicts with bears

Illegal garbage dumps near settlements are not only a problem for the soil and the environment. They often attract brown bears. Being omnivores, the…

Urgent call to halt implementation of Odra Revitalisation Act

Construction will have devastating consequences for the Odra and surrounding areas. 51 projects aim to engineer the rivers, create artificial…

Skavica mega dam: Albanian court to scrutinise special law for U.S. contractor Bechtel

++ Constitutional complaint filed by NGOs accepted for trial ++ First milestone in fight against one of Europe’s largest reservoirs ++ Thousands of…