Poaching of Ortolan buntings in the Landes département: The French government continues to turn a blind eye!

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Illegal caught Ortolan bunting in Landes/SW France.                                                                                                                  Fotocredit: (c) BirdLife

August, 27th – From 9h this morning, the teams of LPO and CABS (Committee Against Bird Slaughter) are, once again, on the ground in the Landes département, south-west France taking action to expose the poaching of Ortolan buntings that takes place here. 

Each year, approximately 30 000 ortolan buntings, a species which is protected since 1999, are trapped and often sold under cover for up to 150 € after being fattened up between mid-August and mid-September. In the autumn, it is the turn of the chaffinches and bramblings using the same trapping method (using a matole, local name for a cage trap). The authorities in charge of the application of the law in France use the term « tolerance » to explain why the law is not applied. For the LPO/BirdLife France, this situation is intolerable.

This morning, several capture sites have been located by our teams especially in the parish of Morcenx (Landes, SW France). 36 sites have been identified with cage traps containing captured birds, and decoys. Many of the decoy birds could be released. Other wounded birds were taken to rehabilitation centres.

Charges against unnamed people

During the morning, charges have been laid against unnamed people in the commune of Mont de Marsan (Landes, SW France) for poaching, the use of prohibited methods, and the holding of protected species. This time it is hoped that an inquiry will be opened for each charge rather than simply being classified and the charges dropped, which is usually the case.

In Western Europe, the overall population of the ortolan bunting is in an unfavourable conservation state following a decline of 84%, mostly in the 1980’s. This is one of the highest rates of decline for a passerine in Europe over 30 years. In France, the government orders the police (ONCFS, the national agency which manages hunting and wildlife) not to report offences, citing what is called “tolerance”. The continued efforts of the NGO network BirdLife International (LPO is the Partner in France) have managed to bring charges against a few offenders; however the sanctions imposed are symbolic and ridiculously small. The situation is denounced by the staff of ONCFS themselves who find it hard to accept the current situation of lawlessness.

In response to the commitments of the French President when elected in 2012, one of which was that France should be exemplary in terms of biodiversity protection, the LPO is launching an important petition entitled « Help to put an end to the illegal massacre of common birds ».

Everyone should get involved! By signing this petition all French citizens can address a message to the governing authorities to request the end of these barbaric practices and the correct application of the law!

Help us to reach this objective and to share the petition widely.

English link to the petition:

Lien français de la pétition



Quelle: via Komitee gegen Vogelmord / Committee Against Bird Slaughter