Wild bird crime in Serbia is threatening the populations of migratory birds

++ Bird migration is already in full swing ++ Many birds are falling victim to poachers in the Balkans ++ EuroNatur and their Serbian partner organisation are campaigning against the illegal killing of these birds ++

This siskin was a victim of the poachers. The illegal hunters do not just hunt water birds, but also shoot raptors and songbirds. For many species of bird, this is a factor which is endangering their populations.

© Nikola Stanojevic

Radolfzell, Novi Sad. The populations of many migratory birds have been declining dramatically in the last few years. This is not only due to the effects of climate change and the deterioration of their habitats, but is also a result of persecution by man. In Europe, the situation is of particular concern along the Adriatic Flyway. EuroNatur and their partner organisations have been campaigning against the illegal killing of birds for many years, especially in Serbia.

It is estimated that around 200,000 birds are killed annually in Serbia through shooting, poisoning or trapping. This includes protected species such as the turtle dove, Bird of the Year in 2020. There are furthermore many EU nationals from other countries amongst the poachers, above all Italians. In Serbia indeed, poaching amounts to an organised crime. For a long time, the Serbian authorities took no action against it, and considered that wildlife crime was insignificant in the country.

However, thanks to the untiring efforts of the bird conservation organisation BPSSS, a long-time partner organisation of EuroNatur, the attitude of the authorities has changed. In the last year, a special police unit has been formed to fight the bird poachers. “That is a first for this country,” said Dr. Stefan Ferger, project leader at EuroNatur. “We are witnessing a slow, but definite change in Serbia, just like in other Balkan countries. The authorities are beginning to take the situation seriously, and to fulfil their obligations under the law. That is good news for Europe’s migratory birds”, Ferger continued.

Background information:

  • Find out more about the topic here: Bird crime in the Balkans for general and in Serbia for more country-specific information.
  • Adriatic Flyway: The migratory birds of central, northern and eastern Europe particularly favour the so-called Adriatic Flyway which runs across the Balkans, the eastern Adriatic coast and southern Italy and across to North Africa. A short film about bird migration along the eastern Adriatic can be found via this link:
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arJenBAVr10

Further enquiries: Christian Stielow, email: christian.stielow(at)euronatur.org,
Tel.: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 15


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