Poaching is a phenomenon that is contributing to the global decline of bird populations. In the Mediterranean region alone, there is an estimated 11–25 million individuals killed/taken illegally each year, many of them being individuals of species of global conservation concern, such as the Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), the Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca), and the Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca).
What is animal poaching?
Poaching is the illegal killing or capturing of wild animals. It includes the killing/capturing of endangered species; the killing/capturing of wildlife outside the hunting season; the use of prohibited methods, gear, or equipment, such as baiting with food, decoys, or recorded calls on electronic devices; etc.
The current situation in Albania
AOS has been observing with great concern the alarming rise of poaching incidents during the month of August. Cases such as the luring (through the usage of electronic calling devices) and killing of the Common Quail in the Western Lowlands, the killing of the European Roller, the killing of numerous flocks of Eurasian Golden Oriole, etc, have been published in various wildlife and hunting related social media outlets.
The blatant display of poaching on social media is quite disturbing. However, the most unsettling aspects of this entire situation are the unresponsiveness of the institutions in charge, and the lack of appropriate policies that prevent, control, and combat poaching.
Furthermore, the circumstances caused by the absence of investigation into this environmental crime are worsened due to the so far ineffective State Inspectorate of Environment and Forests reform. The previous institutions are now disintegrated and their responsibility for inspection outside protected areas has passed to other institutions that don’t have the necessary experience or perhaps lack determination to fight this form of environmental crime.
In these conditions:
AOS implores the institutions responsible for inspection as well as NAPA, State Police and the appropriate Municipal Police to take immediate action.
We urge the Ministry of Tourism and Environment to immediately summon the Consultative Group for Environmental Crime, and report on the progress they’ve made in fighting animal poaching.
In addition, AOS asks for the establishment of the National Fauna Council as the collegial structure better suited for combating animal poaching.
Meanwhile, we ask of the general public to report poaching cases in order for the institutions to react as soon as possible.