Just weeks after its initial decision to shoot up to 6,000 Eurasian Curlew was greeted with Europe-wide fury, the French government has given the go-ahead for hunters to shoot up to 18,000 European Turtle Doves this season.

The decision comes despite clear warnings from conservationists that the species is in rapid decline.

European Turtle Dove is a globally threatened species and categorised as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, yet its status in north-west Europe is significantly worse than even this suggests. It has decreased by 94 per cent in Britain since 1995, and many British birds will migrate south through France this autumn, putting them at significant risk of being shot.

European Turtle Dove numbers have plummeted by 78 per cent across Europe since 1980. When a presidential candidate, Emmanuel Macron made a written pledge to LPO that he would remove at-risk birds from the list of huntable species. This latest decision comes as a stark contrast to that promise and, according to LPO, demonstrates that Macron's government cannot even protect the most critically endangered of birds.

In May 2019, the French Expert Committee on Adaptive Management concluded that hunting of this species should cease with immediate effect to give the species as good a chance of recovery as possible. The decision to ignore the science demonstrates the clear influence that the hunting community retains in France.

eurasian curlew

As it did recently with Eurasian Curlew, LPO has appealed to the Council of State to annul the decision and the species' fate now lies in its hands. The organisation will be hoping for a similarly positive outcome to that received last week for curlews.

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