The Tragedy of Illegal Hunting

The Tragedy of Illegal Hunting

As birds migrate to their wintering grounds, they face many challenges.  Think how the southbound migrants had to deal with the winds of Hurricane Florence!  Some birds may be blown off course and end up somewhere which can’t support them.  Others may perish in severe storms, unable to escape.  What nature throws at them, however, may not be as threatening to their survival as what humans might do.  Illegal hunting is an ever-present challenge to migratory birds in countries with few or no laws on the books to protect them or too few staff to enforce existing laws.  Sometimes, though, we can learn from hard lessons.  Take the famous case of Machi and Goshen, two Whimbrels whose migration from the Arctic to northern South America was being tracked by the Center for Conservation Biology in Virginia.  They survived a tropical storm and hurricane en route, only to be killed by unregulated hunters in Guadeloupe.  Fortunately, out of this highly publicized tragedy came some positive steps to place restrictions on shorebird harvest in that country.  So, learn and follow the hunting regulations in your country, and advocate for greater enforcement of the laws that protect migratory birds!



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