The French Ministry of the Environment has extended the ban on the hunting of endangered lovebirds until mid-next year. A fixed number of birds could still be shot until 2021. About ten percent of European breeding stock lives in France.
The order to extend the hunting ban set in 2021 was published on Friday. The turtle dove is on the global red list as a globally endangered species and was voted “Bird of the Year 2020” in Germany. Reasons for their decline are agriculture (eg changed cultivation methods), but also the hunting of birds in the Mediterranean.
France and Spain play a key role in protection. A year and a half ago, the EU commission accused the two countries of misapplying the Bird Protection Directive and threatened them with a lawsuit. Between 2016 and 2020, the population in Spain and France had decreased by about 40 percent. Today, more than half of the European breeding population lives in Spain, in France it is about ten percent.
Symbol of happiness and love
Turtledoves are also found in the UK and outside Europe, for example in the Near and Middle East, Mongolia and North Africa. They are only in Central Europe between May and September, after which they move to their wintering area. The birds are considered a symbol of happiness and love, which is evident, for example, from the name lovebirds for people who have just fallen in love.