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Trapping of millions of birds in Egypt threatens European bird populations

14/05/2013 14:50:48

The nets stretch approximately 700 kilometres from the Libyan border almost to Gaza. Photo courtesy of NABU

Migratory murder on Egypt's coast

May 2013. Disturbing evidence has emerged from the Mediterranean coast of Egypt: Bavarian Broadcasting have documented a total of 700 kilometres of nets set to catch birds. The birds are then offered as a delicacy in markets and restaurants across Egypt.

The nets are very difficult to avoid for many migratory birds as they form a barrier across their flight path either across the Mediterranean or the Sahara when they are looking for a place to rest. The exact number of birds caught in this way can only be estimated, but experts believe that tens of millions are killed each year.

That songbirds are on the menu (and targeted by many hunters) in many countries of southern Europe and North Africa is nothing new. The existence of fishing nets on the coast of Egypt has long been known, but what is new is the scale of netting, which now extends from Libya across almost the entire coastline of the Egypt to the Sinai - interrupted only in a few places by military installations or major cities.

The few birds that escape the nets are often caught by the gun. Photo courtesy of NABU.

The few birds that escape the nets are often caught by the gun. Photo courtesy of NABU.

Catching birds in Egypt threatens European populations
This form of bird trapping is mostly illegal in Egypt; there are statutory requirements for minimum distances between the nets and maximum stipulated heights but these are largely ignored. Egypt has also signed international agreements on the protection of birds, but the resulting rules are not enforced at all.

Lars Lachmann, bird expert of NABU (NATURE AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION UNION, one of the oldest and largest environment associations in Germany.) states that the implications of bird trapping in Egypt to the European breeding population are not good: "The majority of our species are suffering from habitat loss and climate change; species such as willow warbler, nightingale, wheatear and nightjar will be adversely affected by the massive catch in Egypt."

Most of the birds end up being sold on market stalls. Photo courtesy of NABU

Most of the birds end up being sold on market stalls. Photo courtesy of NABU

Help the fight against this trapping
Any donations will go to NABU's partner organization "Nature Conservation Egypt" to enable it to campaign locally, through regular monitoring of the extent of bird trapping and also to develop specific projects to prevent bird trapping.

Click here to donate

Sign a petition
Sign a petition, which NABU will pass to the Egyptian Embassy, the German federal government and to responsible authorities in Egypt to exercise to finally halt the illegal trapping of birds, and to stop illegal hunting.
Sign the petition against bird slaughter now

Shrike are among the most common birds that are captured in the nets at El Alamein. 


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