Commissioner Vella dodges questions over turtle-dove listing
European Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella dodged questions from the press about the listing of the European turtle-dove as an endangered species.
11 January 2016, 1:57pm
Following a press conference at the Meridiana wine estate in Ta’ Qali earlier today, MaltaToday sought to question the Environment Commissioner over the inclusion of the turtle-dove on the red list of endangered species.
But a representative for the European Commissioner said that Vella did not wish to make any comments about the matter, "as he did not wish to overshadow the European Agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan’s visit to the island".
A report published in June by the International Union of Conservation of Nature, the world’s oldest and largest environmental network, had placed the European turtle dove on the European red list of endangered species, after its populations plummeted by 80% since the 1980s.
Last October, 89 MEPs officially asked European Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella to take urgent action against the Maltese government for breaking EU laws to allow trapping and spring hunting of Europe’s migrating birds.
A recent report by the International Union of Conservation of Nature, the world’s oldest and largest environmental network, placed the European turtle dove on the European red list of endangered species, after its populations plummeted by 80% since the 1980s.
BirdLife Europe has acknowledged that the turtle dove’s decline is primarily due to a loss of breeding and foraging habitat, but has warned that unsustainable levels of hunting during migration is a contributory factor that could become more serious as turtle dove populations continue to decline. They have therefore called for an assessment on the hunting of the species.
However, local hunting federation FKNK has dismissed any correlation between the turtle dove’s new vulnerable status and Malta’s spring hunting season.
A historic referendum on spring hunting last April was sealed with a very slim majority of just 2,220 votes to retain the season despite the EU ban.
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