Ali (Wings) - The English Digest - Autumn 2011

Editorial Autumn 2011

The work of the dedicated people of LIPU seems pretty grim at times; much pushing up a hill before a stroke of bad luck or “enemy action” sends everyone sliding back, even if not right to the bottom.

Imagine my surprise when the computer beeped and a message was showing from Claudio Celada, the LIPU Conservation Director, “Ciao David, good news from Italy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” – now, Claudio is not one to use two dozen exclamation marks lightly so I called him and he gave me the best news I could have hoped for.

He had been telling us of a set of wetlands in south eastern Sicily which are of enormous importance to migrating and wintering birds – these will be the first fresh water to be seen by migrants as they coast in on their spring journey from Africa. The bad news is that they are intensively hunted and we were discussing whether some sort of support from LIPU-UK might improve the situation.

My surprise turned to joy when Claudio explained that after ten years of lobbying and persuasion with setback after setback that the persistence had paid off and the Region of Sicily has decreed that these wetlands will henceforth be a Regional Nature Reserve and no longer hunted. Furthermore, two areas to the south of Syracuse, both of proven ecological importance, receive immediate protection from hunting and the intention is that they, too, will become nature reserves within two years.

Wonderful news indeed!

FROM THE NEW PRESIDENT OF LIPU

Fulvio Mamone Capria

It was in 1986 when I first encountered LIPU. I was twelve years old and full of enthusiasm. With my small weekly pocket money, I used to go to the clandestine bird market in Naples to buy the freedom of Goldfinches or Robins, barbarously confined in tiny cages.

Then I discovered the existence of LIPU and I decided to report to the association what was happening in my city. Every Sunday, thousands of birds were sold by unscrupulous trappers. Hundreds of Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Blackbirds and Serins were displayed on the pavements of Poggioreale – coincidentally near the prison of the same name. But, also, I often used to see hawks, owls, sparrows and delicate, insectivorous birds, such as warblers and Redstarts, during autumn migration. My report was substantiated with the numbers of bird species, cars and licence plates and whatever information was relevant to identifying these illegal sellers of wildlife.

After a few days, a kind lawyer of Naples, Ruggero Ferraro, called me; he represented the association at provincial level and invited me to go with him to a meeting. Obviously, as a young boy, I had to go to the office of the LIPU delegate accompanied by my mother and there I met some of the beautiful and sensitive people who have inspired and sustained my life in the association.

With great surprise, Avvocato Ruggero, who died a few years later, said that my report, written by hand on plain paper, aroused sympathy and indignation in the Carabinieri. In particular, a lieutenant was made responsible for organising a blitz against the sale of protected birds which was so widespread in the eighties.

And so it was! The next Sunday, LIPU volunteers and dozens of police impounded 2,200 protected birds and set them free. That day, escorted by five carabinieri and with permission of my parents, I took part in an extraordinary operation – and my life changed. I felt at home among sincere friends, who like me were defending the lives of birds. I finally came into LIPU.

So it is with this memory from my youth that, as President along with a renewed National Council, I would like to throw down a challenge for even greater growth of our association. Many young people today need a new stimulus, encouragement and incentives to find feelings of friendship and solidarity.

We are surrounded by a deep social and economic crisis and the lack of employment and youth policies increase feelings of distrust and disengagement. We need positive and inspirational role models.

LIPU, with its activities based on volunteering, can offer seeds of hope and comfort for many. If we succeed and young people choose us, perhaps we will have hope for making our country better.

SPECIAL REPORT

by Claudio Celada, Head of Conservation, LIPU

The state is absent – LIPU is not

Observation, monitoring and action: three concrete steps to halt destruction of the environment and species decline. This is how LIPU local groups are helping to protect our most important sites, especially where the authorities are failing to act.

One of the most inspiring and practical projects ever undertaken by LIPU was the establishment of a network of Local Conservation Groups (LCG). These enthusiasts collect data on the most important conservation areas while keeping an eye open for possible threats. The scheme combines global ambition (similar projects are carried out by other BirdLife partners) with local pragmatism, motivated by a love of birds and a pride in helping nature close to home.

Judging from the numbers, the idea has been a successful one. From the south-eastern tip of Sicily to the Alps there are now 32 active LCGs. Together, these groups collect important information on bird species and their habitats; information which is necessary for providing accurate assessments and identifying effective conservation measures. Here are some of their stories.

Piedmont: the authorities fail to act

There are six LCG in Piedmont: at the Baragge of Candelo, Lake Viverone, Baraccone Nature Reserve (where the Po and the Dora Baltea meet), the Vauda Canavese, the Po-Stura Nature Reserve at Lanzo, Monviso and Bosco dell’Alevè. These sites are all protected, either at a regional level or through Natura 2000, yet the Piedmont authorities are clearly neglecting their responsibilities, despite years of leadership in this field. In their absence, the LCGs have had to become efficient at monitoring, discovering amongst other things, the disappearance of Ortolan Bunting and Lesser Grey Shrike from the Vauda and the senseless pressure placed on Lake Viverone and its habitat. They have also confirmed the nesting of Stone Curlew at Baraccone. Meanwhile at Baragge, dissertation work continues into the territorial behaviour of Red-backed Shrike. Thanks to this and the commitment of Giovanni Soldati, leader of the LCGs, LIPU at least has maintained a visible presence in the region, and we hope that the authorities will respond in kind.

A treasure on the edge of Milan

The Lacchiarella conservation group was formed because of the stubbornness of Kinga Eisenbarth, LIPU delegate for Milan, and her fellow volunteers. Together they look after the eponymous SIC (site of community importance), an oasis of 40 hectares which lies between Milan and Pavia, an island of green standing among intensively cultivated fields and the growing urban landscape. In the past, this area was a LIPU oasis; today it is managed by a partnership between the Parco Sud and the local council. Now, thanks to an agreement with the two organisations, LIPU is once again able to contribute to the future of Lacchiarella.

Monitoring started here at the end of January, with Red-backed Shrike as the target species. Following its disappearance in the early 1990s, a pair was recorded earlier this year and LIPU is hoping to build on this success. Thanks to monitoring, it has been possible to observe elusive species, including Subalpine Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler. Soon, monitoring will be extended to mammals as well. Camera traps have already shown the presence of roe deer, including two young, and have confirmed badger, fox and beech marten. And all this just a stone’s throw from Milan.

Capitanata: putting a stop to unscrupulous planning

The group co-ordinated by Filomena Petruzzi monitors as many as four Specially Protected Areas: the Promontory of Gargano, the Valloni and Steppe Pedegarganiche, the Gulf of Manfredonia Marshes, and the Margherita di Savoia Salt Pans. They also monitor the IBA of the Mountains of Daunia, which suffers from a plague of wind farms. Work focuses mainly on a single species, the Lesser Kestrel. This is facing a number of threats, including the aforementioned wind farms, together with solar power plants, planned and built with complete disregard for their impact on biodiversity. There is still a lot of work to do in this corner of Italy.

Parma: “hawk eye” on the Apennines

The Parma LCG, led by Alessandro Mucciolo, is equipped to monitor on a provincial scale. It covers six areas of special protection, extending from the ridge of the Parma Apennines to the flood plain of the Po via the LIPU Oasis at Torrile. Monitoring is not the only work carried out by this brilliant group. They undertake field work to secure a future for birds such as Red-footed Falcon, Lesser Kestrel, Golden Eagle, Lesser Grey Shrike, Roller and Rock Thrush. They also continue a long-term study of Golden Eagle, started by Mario Pedrelli and Michele Mendi in collaboration with the Apennine National Park, and build special nest boxes for Red-footed Falcon and Lesser Kestrel, encouraging successful breeding as part of a provincial “Life” project. This tireless group also keeps an eye on passerines at risk of local extinction, such as Lesser Grey Shrike and Rock Thrush.

Sicily: enlisting science to stop the massacre

If there is one place in Italy where to legalise hunting is to legalise massacre, it is Pantani in south-east Sicily. Here, a complex of small pools, once destined to become a Nature Reserve, plays host to Flamingo, Ferruginous Duck, Marbled Duck, Black-winged Stilt and many other species during the migration and breeding seasons. This area lies just a stone’s throw away from Cape Passero, gateway to Europe and the last springboard to Africa for millions of migratory birds. LIPU has decided to obtain lasting protection for this zone, so important to so many migrants.

Since common sense alone has failed to convince the authorities, we must turn to science. With great professionalism, the LCG led by Egle Gambino has set out to do exactly that, demonstrating how hunting affects the population of Pantani, both resident and migrant birds, as they stop to rest and forage. For how long will the authorities be able to ignore the mounting evidence?

The answer to this was given on 5 July when the Pantani were designated a Regional Nature Reserve – Ed

HUNTING

by Danilo Selvaggi, Head of LIPU’s Institutional Relations

The Usual Autumn between Dispensations and Illegality

With precious little light and in too much shadow, the work of LIPU is beginning to bear fruit. In among all the new laws, there is one which calls for the absolute ban on the hunting of all species during the breeding and migration seasons.

The hunting season is off to a new start and with it the problems are beginning: among the worst are Liguria and Tuscany which have earned for themselves the 2011 booby prize; good news on the other hand, from Puglia, with an improvement which represents a factor of considerable importance.
This is so because, among all the usual backsliding, dishonesty and early starts (the worst feature in almost all the Regions), this year something seems to be changing. The difficult but effective work undertaken by LIPU is beginning to bear significant fruit, above all in the matter of the new laws and regulations passed in these last few years.

Amongst all of them, the change in the law 157/92 has introduced new duties in regard to the protection of birds: State and Regions, both must now enforce the absolute ban on hunting birds during the spring migration and breeding seasons, as well as doing what is necessary to maintain bird species in a favourable state of conservation, including removing those at risk from the lists of game species. On this last point, the European Commission is crystal clear: the hunting of species whose conservation status is fragile is not to be tolerated.

The Hunting Calendar – A word from the scientists

Already last year, in support of the application of the new rules, ISPRA, the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research – which is the national scientific authority on the subject – sent out to the Regions a guide in which were laid out instructions on how to work out the various hunting calendars as well as well as taking into account the state of health of the species in question. In short, says ISPRA, the Italian hunting season is too long and covers too many species. There is a need to reduce it, increasing the protection on some and suspending the hunting of other species.

The strong pressure on the Regions from the more intransigent parts of the hunting world has put a brake on the full application of the ISPRA document and moreover, put our country at risk of new legal pursuit for infringement. This is more apparent due to the recent position taken by the European Commission which says that the opinion of ISPRA in all matters to do with hunting must be considered binding.

Increasing protection – A road we must take

However, the process of increasing the protection for birds from hunting is under way. From various regions, the first evidence is coming in: a reduction in the season for hunting thrushes, snipe and waterfowl along with other conservation measures. It is too little, of course. There are so many things which will have to be done, on many significant fronts, to limit the impact of the 700,000 Italian hunters on birds and other wildlife. LIPU has spelled it out and put the arguments forward on a number of occasions, including at a recent Round Table Conference of the Regions in which LIPU took part. If, then, the process of bird protection does not develop more rapidly and more completely, the way ahead will be straightforward: LIPU will go to the European Union and to law to denounce the damage which certain ill-intentioned public administrations – with their “presents” to the hunters – continue to wreak on wild animals and birds.

FOCUS

By Georgia Gaibani, LIPU office for IBAs and Natura 2000

Objective: Biodiversity – a European relaunch

The 2010 target has been missed; now the EU is trying again, setting out a new European strategy for biodiversity and setting a date of 2020 for the new targets. The minimum objective is to reverse the decline, but also to contribute, by concrete actions, to the restoration of ecosystems.

To sum up further:

Agriculture and fishery: these are the key sectors that are based more than others on the productivity of natural resources. The fundamental data are dramatic: 60% of the world’s ecosystems are degraded, 75% of marine resources are depleted and agriculture is losing a large part of its genetic diversity.

The objective of the EU Strategy for biodiversity, approved on June 21st by the European Council of Environment Ministers, is to reverse the decline in biodiversity and in ecosystems by 2020.

The new strategy proposes a programme to preserve our natural capital and the ecosystem services it provides to society, defining six main objectives, each accompanied by a series of actions to attain the EU’s 2020 targets for biodiversity. The first objective is the full implementation of EU nature legislation to protect biodiversity which will restore ecosystems – for example through green infrastructure projects – and to encourage sustainable agriculture and forestry. The fourth ‘target’, is to create sustainable fisheries, on the heels of which comes the struggle against invasive alien species; and last but not least, the contribution to halting the loss of biodiversity on the global scale is to be considered.

After the failure to halt the decline by 2010, the heads of state have returned to the task, promising not only to reverse the decline, but also to bring about actions for the renewal of habitats and ecosystems by 2020. In particular, the strategy stresses the key role of the two sectors which, perhaps more than any others, are based upon natural resources: agriculture and fisheries.

A dramatic picture: For the environment, for well-being and the economy.

The challenge is enormously important. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, 60% of the ecosystems of the world are degraded or being exploited, while 75% of marine stocks have been over-fished or seriously depleted while, since 1990, we have witnessed the loss of up to 75% of the agricultural gene pool. From the 2010 technical report of the EU Environment Agency come similarly alarming statistics: only 17% of habitats can boast a satisfactory state of conservation and up to 25% of European animal species are at risk of extinction. The majority of our ecosystems are no longer able to furnish, either in quantity or quality, services such as pollination and drinkable water, control of floods or the prevention of erosion. But it is not merely a question, however urgent and dramatic, merely of environmental protection. The loss of biodiversity has a negative impact on the well-being and health of everyone, not only those who directly or indirectly depend on biodiversity and ecosystemic services for their livelihood. As has been underlined by the EU economic and social committee, the economic losses resulting from the diminution of ecosystemic services has already reached hundreds of billions of Euros. It is not only environmentalists who are now taking account of this, but also farmers and fishermen, who have to work ever harder to stay in business.

A small step in the right direction

Following the failure to attain the objective of halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010, further postponements are neither justifiable nor acceptable. Given the situation in which we find ourselves, we had hoped for a braver and more ambitious Strategy for 2020. It remains to be seen, however, if the EU and its member states will demonstrate the political will to put the strategy into action, to go beyond fine words written on paper. It will, therefore, be essential to progress the management of the network of Natura 2000 sites with an interdisciplinary approach which aims to resolve the conflicts existing today within its boundaries.

It will be necessary to increase the number of marine areas protected under Natura 2000, given that a number of studies has shown that once protected marine areas are instituted, marine resources start to grow again. It will thus be necessary to put a stop to over-fishing and, in place of subsidising agricultural practices which damage the environment, to support those who farm sustainably. It is clear, however, that without major reforms from the member states, the new strategy for biodiversity will be doomed to failure.

The Italian position? Disappointing and incoherent.

The position of our government during the stages of the adoption of the strategy has been highly disappointing, when one considers that during Italy’s Presidency of the Council of Europe, it hosted the adoption of the strategy. The position of Italy is a result, moreover, of the total incoherence of the objectives undertaken at the Nagoya summit on biodiversity last year and of the national strategy for biodiversity approved in Rome in 2010.

What then does LIPU ask for the future? That the member states, and Italy above all, finally do something to arrest the decline in biodiversity, and promise far-reaching reforms to the agricultural and fisheries policies.

See the complete text of the ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020’ at:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/comm2006/pdf/2020/1_EN_ACT_part1_v7[1].pdf

The four steps towards the strategy:

The Council has, therefore, requested that the Commission presents an EU strategy for biodiversity post 2010 which takes account of the results of the tenth Convention on Biological Diversity at Nagoya.

Now we must wait to see if the new strategy is more effective than the last one...

POACHERS FOILED

There is a huge illegal market in birds in Sicily.

That this vile trade can be thwarted has been shown by a project which LIPU, together with other environmental associations, has undertaken. Nests that were systematically robbed are kept under surveillance and the Bonelli’s Eagle spreads its wings, safe and sound, while the poachers watch their backs.

The eagle has the greatest strength and speed of any bird. These characteristics of the Bonelli’s Eagle mean that some falconers are prepared to pay up to 20,000 Euros on the black market in order to own one.

The illegal trade in birds is the fourth largest in the world after drugs, human trafficking and arms. Lanner Falcons, Lesser Kestrels, Bee Eaters, Rollers and small song birds from Sicily have all become part of this international trade.

Some birdwatchers decided to put a stop to this evil crime by taking action to stop the men who snatch eggs and nestlings. The trade could bring about the extinction of the Bonelli’s Eagle as seems to have happened already in Sardinia. Sicily holds the largest population in Italy of this quintessential Mediterranean eagle. On the mainland, it is found only in Calabria. As for the Lanner Falcon , the largest population of the subspecies feldeggii is in Sicily.

The initiative was begun on Easter Sunday in 2010 when, early in the morning, Andrea Ciaccio came across poachers trying to climb down to an eagle’s nest to take the chick. This discovery set in train an investigation by the forestry police which led to the seizure of young eagles in all regions of Italy with false documents stating that they were adult birds. They had all been born that year.

In 2011, as many as 39 volunteers from LIPU and other organisations took it in turns to mount guard over one nest that had been systematically predated in previous years. They were there from 6am to 8pm for 62 days after hatching until the young fledged on May 27. Thus, one nest was constantly watched while four or five others were kept under observation.

From now on, the poachers knew they were being watched and tracked down. Their vehicle numbers could be quickly checked. This seems already to have acted as a deterrent and will continue to do so.

LIPU is seeking to involve the police and the authorities in order to modify the designation of reserves to include those sites which may be important for the eagles and Lanners. We realise that, like all things, this will take years, but it is worth the effort to ensure that our eagles continue to fly over the parched hills of Sicily. Just as today, we can see the Griffon Vulture flying high over its rocky fortresses and the splendid Purple Gallinule repopulating the reed beds! Both are species that LIPU has helped reintroduce to Sicily.

BIRDLIFE

by Giovanni Albarella

From the lower Danube to the Rodopi mountains: Bulgaria

This is the area of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, the Bulgarian partner of BirdLife, concerned with defending 413 species of birds as well as rare wild mammals, some on the verge of extinction.

Joining the European Union brought many advantages but also the spectre of unregulated development and urbanisation.

The central plains and those of the Danube along the border with Rumania, the mountain chains that make up a third of the territory and the 378 kilometres of Black Sea coastline are Bulgaria’s main geographical features providing a wealth of diversity. It is precisely because of this variety of habitats and its position in the Balkans that Bulgaria has recorded 413 species of birds as well as mammals such as the bear, the wolf and the very rare monk seal. Ali interviewed Nada Tosheva, the general director of the BSPB, the Bulgarian partner of BirdLife International.

Nada, since 2007 Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union: how is this affecting conservation and the protection of nature?

Joining the EU has brought both benefits and disadvantages regarding conservation in Bulgaria. On one hand we now have coherent legislation thanks to the European directives and more opportunities for new funding for conservation but, on the other, some political development programmes are coming into conflict with our attempts to protect nature. The greatest threats come from mass urbanisation aimed at the tourist market along the coasts and in the mountainous regions and by the indiscriminate development of alternative energy (wind turbines, hydroelectric plants and solar parks).

Some of your conservation programmes specifically concern raptors: what are your aims?

At present, much of our effort is concentrated on the conservation of some globally threatened species, such as the Imperial Eagle, the Saker Falcon and the Egyptian Vulture. The main threat is caused by loss of habitat linked to the agricultural exploitation of the plains that leads to a reduction in the prey populations of these areas. The use of poisoned bait, although illegal, is also a major problem. Some birds are also killed for stuffing or because they are considered pests and eggs and chicks are stolen for collections.

What are you doing to conserve and protect natural habitats?

The BSPB is aware that the conservation of habitats is necessary to ensure the survival of species. We have, in fact, undertaken projects to clean up the environments at the wetlands along the coast of Burgas and the salt marshes near the Black Sea. We are also working with SOR, the Rumanian partner of BirdLife, on a joint project for the protection of forests along the Danube. Furthermore, we are encouraging the adoption of agricultural practices that do not damage the biodiversity.

The BSPB has two conservation centres: what are their activities?

Our two centres are in Madzharovo, vulture country, and in Burgas, at one of the most important migratory routes, the Via Pontica. In both centres, our activities aim to teach and encourage a concern for nature conservation and are directed both at the general public and at schools. These centres also function as research stations for university students on their first field experiences. In the last few years, they have also been used as information centres for the respective regions, promoting at the same time local nature tourism.

One of the BSPB’s main activities is the promotion of tourism for birdwatching: in what way?

The BSPB has created a tourism company called Neophron, (named after the Egyptian Vulture, the bird in our logo) specialising in the organisation of nature tours in Bulgaria, mostly for birdwatching, but also for nature in general. This helps provide the BSPB with funds needed for its activities and for its conservation projects.

If a birdwatcher comes to Bulgaria, where and when should he go?

I would say that the best places are the Shabla and Durankulak lakes on the northern coast of the Black Sea, near the Rumanian border. Here, between January and February, it’s possible to see numerous flocks of White-fronted Geese and usually between ten and fifty thousand Red-breasted Geese. Sea Eagles, Long-legged Buzzards, Merlins and Bitterns are regular winter visitors and there is always a good chance of seeing a Great Black-headed Gull. In May and June in the Rodopi mountains, characterised by harsh rocks and sparse vegetation, there are vultures, most notably the Griffon. Black Storks, Wallcreepers, Ortolan and Black-headed Buntings, as well as several species of warbler, also nest here.

BSPB – Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds

Founded: 1988

President: Petar Yankov

Members: 800

Number of IBAs in Bulgaria: 114

Globally threatened species in Bulgaria: 12

Web site: www.bspb.org

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A VALUABLE ALLY FOR THE LIPU RECOVERY CENTRES

by Sara Orlandi, Promotions section

Norda, a company supplying bottled water, is a corporate supporter of LIPU.

From the study of the Golden Eagle, in 2009 Norda helped the creation, the following year, of the website “Unnuovovolo.it” (A new flight). Following this, in the third year of collaboration with LIPU, Norda will help the wildlife rehabilitation centres of Pontevecchio di Magenta, Livorno and Palermo, where wild animals of many species, are treated and helped, including many birds of prey.

A partnership that is renewed is a sign of continuity in terms of methods and objectives. The project ‘A new flight’ has studied the very real threats to Golden Eagles that persist in five mountain areas and has provided useful data to counter them.

The web site was designed to develop the public’s knowledge and love for the golden eagle and the mountain environment in which it lives. In parallel, it also promotes “ The Friend of LIPU card” which recruited about 8,000 supporters throughout Italy.

Elena D’Andrea, Director General LIPU, stated, “This year, Norda will help the recovery centres, specifically supporting the costs of LIPU’s specialised veterinary surgeons, the nourishment of recovering birds of prey, the instruments and medicines needed, and information to raise awareness.”

The LIPU recovery centres are special hospitals that, every year, care for more than 15,000 wild birds. In fact, there are 12 in all Italy. The workers and the LIPU volunteers take care of these special patients from arrival to rehabilitation. They feed them, clean them, administer medicines, make X-ray examinations and perform surgical operations. When fully recovered, the animals are returned to the wild. They also offer consultations and advice for those who find injured wild creatures.

It is estimated that the five most frequent “patients” in the recovery centres are raptors, namely Buzzards, Kestrels, falcons, Scops Owl and Little Owl. But sometimes, an eagle arrives and when this happens, it is very challenging and requires specialised care.

There are many other species which need specialist help, usually they are victims of poachers or of impact with cars or electricity wires, or they have problems following ingestion of poison.

The philosophy that inspires the Recovery Centres is noble and involves those who love nature who wish to give a second chance to creatures that have lost their first chance because of man. It’s an important task. If the scientific projects studying and monitoring species and habitats are intended to provide long-term results, the purpose of the centres is to give help to animals in need, to save ‘a part of nature’ that would otherwise be lost.

NORDA

Speaking on behalf of Norda, Carlo Pessina said: “This new eco-environmental project is part of a collaboration that is expanding and strengthening from year to year. In addition to supporting centres – many of which are open to the public – Norda will be alongside LIPU in organising the meetings aimed at bringing to public attention the important work of the Centre. At the same time, we will be strengthening the advisory service to citizens, institutions and companies who come face to face with the problem of wildlife in distress.”

Press Release: LIPU – BIRDLIFE ITALY

August 5, 2011

GOOD NEWS FROM SICILY

ENVIRONMENT: THE PANTANI SOUTH-EAST ARE NOW NATURE RESERVES. AT LAST AREAS OF EXTRAORDINARY IMPORTANCE FOR MIGRATING BIRDS ARE PROTECTED.

Two years of binding regulation for the Capo Murro di Porco and the Peninsula della Maddalena.

Good news for the extraordinary Sicilian wildlife and migratory birds on the hazardous route between Africa and Europe. LIPU – BirdLife Italy – rejoiced at the decision of the Sicilian Regional Council for Territory and the Environment which has decreed the creation of the Nature Reserve Pantani della Sicilia Sud Orientale.

Here, more than 1,300 hectares of splendid habitat and coastal wetland hosts the nesting and wintering areas of wild birds such as Flamingos and ducks, including the rare Ferruginous Duck, Marbled Duck and waders. All are dependent on the management of the area by the Regional State Forest Company. The area is already a ZPS (Zone of Special Protection) and SIC (Site of Community Importance), but until now has had to suffer the damage caused by unrestricted hunting which has harmed bird populations and poisoned the environment.

But alongside the Pantani there is another vital piece of Sicilian nature that has also been protected. It is Capo Murro di Porco and Peninsola della Maddalena, an area of greatest importance for the study of migration in the central Mediterranean and a strategic site for observing marine birds. For this area, it has been decided to introduce regulations and controls for two years, in the expectation of its addition to the regional plan for parks and areas of protection.

“It is news that fills us with joy and satisfaction, after years of struggle that have seen us fighting in the front line for the defence of nature”, said Fulvio Mamone Capria, President of LIPU. “These two areas are of great natural importance and for their position have the greatest importance for the millions of birds that depend on these areas for their survival. It is indeed good news for Sicily, but also for the natural heritage of the whole of Europe.”

This is the south eastern extremity of Sicily and the map shows the areas which are now protected, for full size map see: http://www.artasicilia.eu/web//news/sos4-1/RNO_Pantani_Cartografia_577.pdf

NEWS FROM LIPU-UK

Good news – the Payments Council has listened to the people and recently announced, “The Payments Council is today (12 July 2011) announcing that cheques will continue for as long as customers need them and the target for possible closure of the cheque clearing in 2018 has been cancelled. The Payments Council Board will continue to focus on security, efficiency and encouraging innovation in all types of payments to ensure customers have options best suited to the 21st century.”.

We, in LIPU-UK, will always be happy to receive cheques from our supporters as well as transfers direct to our bank for those who wish to save postage, we also offer the facility to use Paypal via our web site.

Graham Bell a, member from Northumberland, is offering colour slides from his extensive collection.

For Sale

High quality, original colour slides of birds, animals, flowers and landscapes, worldwide, for private, non-commercial use.

£2.00 each which will include a donation to LIPU. Please contact Graham direct on 01668 281310

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LIPU-UK AT THE BIRD FAIR

Carol Debney

Mid-August means BirdFair to thousands of keen birdwatchers and by early morning on Friday August 19, it was obvious that a serious invasion of Rutland was under way. By 8.30am, there were long queues on the roads into Oakham and apparently, even the trains were crowded. It’s a great event which seems to increase in popularity every year.

I’ve been attending since 1990, originally for my work with Bird Watching magazine, so now I feel that I’m addicted to the event and greatly enjoy meeting and greeting exhibitors and visitors that I’ve come to know during the last 20 years, including, of course, many LIPU-UK members who come to visit us on the stand.

It always seems to me to be a particularly friendly event – with all kinds of people, all ages, all intent on supporting birds and wildlife in its infinite variety. And of course, it attracts exhibitors and visitors from all over the world. The event has grown hugely and it’s not easy to visit every marquee, but wherever you go you find representatives of bird protection societies and conservation groups from every continent and that, in these difficult times for birds and wildlife, is very heartening.

This year the LIPU-UK stand had a ‘Save the Robin’ theme. This enabled us to raise awareness of LIPU’s anti-trapping campaigns and encourage some donations, membership etc. Ugo Faralli joined us from Parma and was keen to provide information about the reserve at Carloforte and the splendid success of the Eleanora’s Falcons that breed on this small island off the coast of Sardinia. Altogether, it was a successful weekend for LIPU-UK, – tiring but satisfying, and I hope successful in raising awareness of the important work of LIPU-UK.

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We’ve said a lot in this issue about the success at the Pantani and, when the news broke, congratulations poured in to the team who did all the work in Sicily. The leader, Egle Gambino responded with these typically modest words,

“I wanted to thank you on behalf of the entire group for the beautiful words from Elena and Fulvio and all Lipuini for their messages of affection and encouragement.

Thanks also to Claudio Celada, Andrea Mazza and all the staff at Parma who supported us with patience at the critical times.

Having reached this finishing line, we will now have to start new activities to ensure that the management of this precious wetland is the best possible.”

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am grateful, as always, to the team who translated this edition: Jo Bazen, Carol Debney, Tony Harris, Caterina Paone, Peter Rafferty, and John Walder.

Line drawings are used courtesy the RSPB, photographs are © Carol Debney, David Lingard and LIPU.