Crime scene Adriatic Coast: Migratory birds in focus

The Eastern Adriatic offers birds like the Eurasian Spoonbill resting places of international importance.

© Davorka Kitonic

EuroNatur: International conference on the protection of migratory birds along the Eastern Adriatic Coast proposes solutions

Press Release from vom 20. April 2009

Radolfzell/Ulcinj.  “Habitat destruction and bird hunting turn the Balkan Peninsula into a dangerous course for migratory birds. The international conference on the protection of migratory birds helped significantly to reach the objective of improving the dramatic situation on the Balkans”, says Prof. Dr. Hartmut Vogtmann, president of EuroNatur. He looks back on a successful conference which EuroNatur together with its partners has organised from 14-17 April 2009 in Ulcinj in Montenegro. More than 100 experts from 15 European countries came together to develop concrete approaches to the protection of migratory birds in South East Europe.

 “Just a few years ago, the Balkans were uncharted territory on the migration map. But within the framework of the conference, experts clearly confirmed the existence and importance of the Adriatic Flyway”, says Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby, EuroNatur project manager. The wetlands along the Eastern Adriatic coast provide internationally important resting areas for more than 20 waterbird species, for instance the black-headed gull, the black-tailed godwit, or the Eurasian spoonbill. Besides other species, more than 15,000 cranes and 10,000 honey buzzards cross the Adriatic Sea every year. That is why experts point out the urgent necessity to ensure safe resting sites along this migration route.

The members of the conference outlined the most important results in the “Ulcinj Declaration”. This declaration was passed EuroNatur and other representatives of important agreements for the protection of migratory birds in Europe like the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), BirdLife International, the Council of Europe, the Ramsar Convention, and Wetlands International. The statement includes clear requests for the responsible politicians of the region. Top priority has the improvement of the regulatory framework of the protection of migratory birds and their habitats along the Adriatic Flyway. The Ulcinj Declaration demands the adjustment of national legislations on bird hunting and nature protection to the European standard and the control of these laws. Experts on bird protection underline the urgency of a better protection of wetlands and resting sites on the Balkans by the creation of hunting-free areas, international collaboration on the protection of migratory birds, and selective training of experts on bird protection and nature conservation in the countries along the Adriatic Flyway.

Another important topic of the conference were the enormous, though hardly used possibilities of the Balkan region for nature based tourism. “The Bojana-Buna Delta is a pearl of the European Green Belt. We just have to make it shine properly”, said Prof. Dr. Hartmut Vogtmann, president of EuroNatur, at the opening of the conference in the Bojana-Buna Delta with around 250 participants. Bird watching tourism offers great opportunities for both humans and nature. In the USA, for instance, profits are 20 times as high as the income from bird hunting, the experts point out in the Ulcinj Declaration.


  • You can download the Ulcinj Declaration here (pdf-file, 240 kb)
  • More about the Adriatic Flyway
  • More about the EuroNatur campaign „Bird hunting on the Balcans- Crime Scene Adriatic Coast"

Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby, bird expert and EuroNatur project manager will be pleased to assist you with further information, photo material and interviews.

Konstanzer Straße 22
78315 Radolfzell
Phone: 0049 - 7732 - 92 72 10
Fax: 0049 - 7732 - 92 72 22
Contact: Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby
Press contact: Katharina Grund

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