27 October 2014 Jane Goodall, the eminent primatologist and UN messenger of peace, joined the LIFE project ‘LIFE Northern Bald Ibis – Reason for Hope’ (LIFE12 BIO/AT/000143) and representatives from two Italian hunting associations, to sign a pioneering agreement on 12 October 2014 that supports the sustainable reintroduction of migratory northern bald ibis or waldrapp (Geronticus eremita) in Europe. Crucially, the signatories agreed to protect this and other endangered migratory bird species from illegal hunting in Italy.
The signing of the agreement took place during a ceremony held at the Parco Natura Vivia (Bussolengo, Italy). The Italian park, one of the nine LIFE project partners, plays an important role within the campaign against illegal hunting in Italy. At the signing ceremony, Dr Goodall awarded honorary patronages to representatives of the two Italian hunting associations and also to ten school groups, who all adopted individual birds.
Dr Goodall said: "For me it is not easy to sign this document together with hunters. Hunting is not my way to preserve and protect nature. However, I am open for cooperation to achieve these common, so important goals.”
The northern bald ibis has long been extinct in Europe, and only small colonies remain in Morocco, the Middle East and Turkey. The main objective of the LIFE project is the reintroduction of the critically endangered northern bald ibis into Europe. Starting from three locations in Austria and Germany, human-led migrations using a microlite aircraft are being carried out to establish a route to a common overwintering ground in Tuscany, Italy – as shown in this recent project video.
Illegal hunting is a substantial problem for European bird conservation and LIFE Reason for Hope aims to reduce it by 25% in Italy through public awareness campaigning. "During the last 12 years we have lost 60 birds in our project; around 70% of them have been found shot dead or have disappeared, particularly during the hunting season in Italy,” says LIFE project manager Johannes Fritz. “Such a high rate of loss must also be assumed for other endangered migratory species. Without a reduction of this high mortality rate, no sustainable conservation is possible."
For further information about the LIFE project – including a free animal tracker application that allows the locations of individual birds to be tracked – visit the website of coordinating beneficiary Förderverein Waldrappteam: http://waldrapp.eu/index.php/en/
16 October 2014 The deadline for submitting "Traditional" Projects has officially been extented until Friday 24th October 2014 at 16:00 Brussels local time instead of 16th October.
06 October 2014 DG Environment and the LIFE programme will be present at the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia next month (12-19 November). The DG Environment stand will include an area showcasing LIFE project videos and other programme achievements.
All LIFE projects also are invited to participate in the Saved Nature Photography Competition that will be running throughout the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress (entrants need not be present at the congress). To enter, click here.
Held every 10 years, The IUCN World Parks Congress is a landmark global forum that is designed to set the agenda for the conservation of protected areas for the coming decade. Based around the theme, "Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions", the 2014 congress seeks to present, discuss and create original approaches for conservation and development. It also will mark the launch of the Standard for the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas and the criteria for Key Biodiversity Areas, both of which are closely linked to the EU policy agenda in this field.