Germany’s most rare breeding bird is illegally shot in Croatia and Serbia

Ferruginous duck

Globally threatened but still hunted: The Ferruginous duck.

© Schneider-Jacoby

Crime Scene Adriatic Coast – Bird Hunting on the Balkans

Press Release from 29 September 2009

Radolfzell. The Ferruginous Duck is one of the most rare breeding birds in Germany.  Hence the shooting of hundreds of Ferruginous Ducks continuing during their breeding season, as it is happening in Serbia and Croatia these days, was fiercely criticised by the European Nature Heritage Fund EuroNatur. Although this species is internationally protected by the Bern Convention and must neither be hunted in Croatia nor Serbia, bird conservationists’ partners report on disastrous situations in the wetlands of both countries. Amongst them are the Association for Bird Conservation and Research Vojvodina and the Croatian Association for Bird and Nature Conservation who confirm with pictures the hunting of large numbers of ducks.

“These hunting activities mean more ‘bleeding’ for the Central European population of Ferruginous Ducks and must be stopped immediately,” demands Gabriel Schwaderer, General Manager of EuroNatur. On the 1st of September the bird hunting officially starts in Croatia and Serbia. “If the hunting of such rare species like the Ferruginous Ducks during breeding season is permitted, it opens the floodgates to illegal hunting because allegedly missed shots get out of control,” says Mr. Schwaderer. Already in March of this year, EuroNatur has therefore requested in writing to the Ministers of Forestry and Agriculture of both countries to ban the hunting during the breeding season of the ducks until the 1st of October.

The importance of these actions is strikingly documented in a video named “Duck Hunting near Carska Bara” in which hunters openly show illegally shot birds . These pictures attract Italian hunting tourists who travel to the Eastern Adriatic Coast and its back-country for bird hunting due to the tightened controls in their own country. In the hunting video 21 dead ducks are seen, more than half of them are Ferruginous Ducks, amongst them also a squab duck. The video clearly documents that the hunters have a total lack of understanding that this act is unlawful. 

Within the EuroNatur campaign “Crime Scene Adriatic Coast – Bird Hunting on the Balkans” EuroNatur has already collected comprehensive material about the illegal hunting of Ferruginous Ducks on the Eastern Adriatic Coast. “We must impose pressure on an international basis to improve the devastating situation for migratory birds like the Ferruginous Ducks on the Eastern Adriatic Coast. If you can hear shots on the Adriatic Coast, it’s going to be quiet in our local wetlands”, says Mr. Schwaderer. EuroNatur demands amongst others the implementation of hunting ban areas across all essential breeding and gathering areas for the Ferruginous Duck along the Eastern Adriatic Coast.

Background information:

  • The video “Duck Hunting near Carska Bara” can be watched here
  • In Germany there can be found very few Ferruginous Duck couples at lake Bodensee and very rarely on the lakes of Brandenburg and Saxony. With only one to two proofs of offsprings per year this species is seriously endangered and depends on a solid and constant population in Croatia and Serbia. The Ferruginous Ducks is on the international Red List.
  • More information on the campaign „Crime Scene Adriatic Coast – Bird Hunting on the Balkans” can be found here

For photo material and interviews please feel free to contact Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby, Project Leader at EuroNatur.

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Fax +49 7732 - 92 72 22
Contact: Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby
Press contact: Katharina Grund

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