Park hunt­ing ‘out of con­trol’

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - NEWS -

Ecol­o­gists con­cerned about hunt­ing in El Hondo nat­u­ral park have ac­cused the re­gional gov­ern­ment of break­ing the law reg­u­lat­ing ac­cess to pub­lic in­for­ma­tion. The as­so­ci­a­tion Friends of the South Ali­cante Wet­lands (AHSA) ap­plied for fig­ures about the num­ber and species of wa­ter birds that had been au­tho­rised to be killed in the park’s game re­serves dur­ing the 2017-2018 hunt­ing sea­son.

They also asked for the cen­suses that these fig­ures had been based on, the num­ber of in­spec­tions made of these game re­serves by en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cers and their re­sults. Since they have still not re­ceived a re­ply, they have made a com­plaint to the re­gional om­buds­man. “We have se­ri­ous doubts that the rules es­tab­lished to reg­u­late hunt­ing in El Hondo nat­u­ral park are be­ing obeyed,” said AHSA spokesman Ser­gio Ar­royo. “But what is more wor­ry­ing is the im­pact this lack of con­trol over hunt­ing could be hav­ing on the birdlife in this pro­tected space, which is the prin­ci­pal refuge for species in dan­ger of ex­tinc­tion, like the white headed duck and mar­bled teal.” The as­so­ci­a­tion la­belled the re­gional en­vi­ron­ment de­part­ment’s hunt­ing pol­icy ‘in­ex­pli­ca­ble’, and claimed it is hav­ing se­ri­ous reper­cus­sions on nat­u­ral spa­ces like El Hondo. They note that cli­mate change is re­sult­ing in no­tably fewer wa­ter birds win­ter­ing in south­ern Europe, and those that do are ar­riv­ing later. More­over, the au­thor­i­ties’ hunt­ing pol­icy ‘tough­ens the leg­is­la­tion against wildlife’ by in­creas­ing the per­mit­ted time for shoot­ing birds from one hour af­ter twi­light to two. Also, the wa­ter bird hunt­ing sea­son was ex­tended from the be­gin­ning of Jan­uary to mid-Fe­bru­ary.

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