Main content area

Environmentalism in the crosshairs: Perspectives on migratory bird hunting and poaching conflicts in Italy

Barca, Benjamin, Lindon, Adrien, Root-Bernstein, Meredith
Global ecology and conservation 2016 v.6 pp. 189-207
European Union, activists, compliance, ecology, hunters, migratory birds, society, wildlife poaching, Italy
Migratory bird hunting has a long tradition in the Mediterranean, but remains a highly controversial issue. Here we examine the Mediterranean migratory bird hunting controversies through the case of Italy. We interviewed key informants and carried out participant observation on both legal and illegal migratory bird hunting and migratory bird protection, in four key migratory bird hunting sites in Italy. In many cases, both migratory bird hunters and bird protection activists consider themselves as the stewards of nature. Environmentalists accuse hunters of illegal practices, while hunters believe anti-poaching activists aim to threaten the existence of hunting itself. Yet surprisingly, the legality of specific hunting practices emerges as peripheral to the concerns of both groups. The lack of dialogue and increasingly polarized positions on both sides make it difficult to assure compliance with EU and national migratory bird hunting laws, and hinders finding shared solutions that consider differing values in a rapidly changing society.