Greek island community near Rhodos protects migratory birds from Germany

Lesser whitethroat

Species like the Lesser Whitethroat benefit from the hunting ban on the Island of Tilos.

© Juergen Schneider

Tilos receives EuroNatur award for dedicated protection of migratory birds

Press Release from 7 October 2009


Radolfzell.   Just like every year, this autumn tens of thousands of migratory birds rest on the island of Tilos in the Dodekanes. Amongst them one finds rare breeding birds from Germany like the Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Marsh Warbler and the Lesser Whitethroat. By having banned bird hunting on their island for more than 15 years – despite massive pressure of the hunting lobby from outside – the inhabitants of Tilos, an island located near Rhodos, also protect bird life in Germany. “Tilos is an excellent example to show how undisturbed resting areas along migration routes contribute to an effective bird protection”, says Professor Dr. Hartmut Vogtmann, President of EuroNatur. Today, at the Bodensee island Mainau, the Greek community Tilos was awarded with the EuroNatur prize for their long-time commitment in bird protection. On behalf of the citizens of Tilos, mayor Dr. Anastasios Aliferis, accepted the unremunerated award.

Tilos, however, is only one of the few positive examples. On other Greek islands but also on Cyprus, Malta and along the Eastern Adriatic coast the situation is devastating. Intense bird hunting causes in many countries that the essential resting areas near and in the sea become death traps. “This makes it even more important to have positive role models like Tilos to create hope and stimulate encouragement to follow their example”, compliments Professor Vogtmann the award. The granting of the EuroNatur Award 2009 to the island of Tilos is a clear sign within the EuroNatur campaign “Scene of crime Adriatic Sea – Bird Hunting in the Balkans”. As such the little island impressively shows that there are convincining alternatives to bird hunting.

“Banning bird hunting has created a solid foundation for a socially responsible and ecologically compatible tourism on Tilos”, continues Vogtmann. With its manifold biodiversity and calm nature the island attracts nature lovers all year. The diversity of breeding birds alone is spectactular: Eleonora’s Falcon, Bonelli’s Eagle, Long-Legged Buzzard, Audouin’s Gull and European Roller can be watched all year. Gentle tourism creates an important source of income for the insulars all year long. Together with its partners EuroNatur is working towards this development also in other project areas but especially in the Balkans.

Background information:
EuroNatur Award: Previous award winners of the EuroNatur Award are amongst others Prof. Dr. Klaus Toepfer, Karl Ludwig Schweisfurth, Prince Charles, Michail Gorbatschow, Nelson Mandela and Dr. Hans Bibelriether. The EuroNatur Award is unremunerated. This award honours excellent achievements for Nature Conservation.

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