Park hunting ‘out of control’
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.