21/04/2014
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Long-tailed Duck wins court battle

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Long-tailed Duck is still numerous, but has undergone significant declines in the last couple of decades. Photo: Mdf (commons.wikimedia.org).
Long-tailed Duck is still numerous, but has undergone significant declines in the last couple of decades. Photo: Mdf (commons.wikimedia.org).
Licenses to hunt endangered Long-tailed Ducks in southern Finland have been repealed after BirdLife International took authorities to court.

Long-tailed Duck is classified worldwide as endangered, but in southern Finland, a license for spring hunting of the species was authorised in 2011, further threatening the survival of the population. BirdLife Finland and its local member organisation are working to save the species, and lodged a complaint to the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland. This proved successful as the court found the license for spring hunting illegal.

The court decision was based on the unfavourable conservation status of the species and the fact that there is a satisfactory alternative to spring hunting, since Long-tailed duck occurs in the area also during the autumn.

Pursuing the complaint required considerable work by the NGOs. The appeal documents were lengthy and were supported by numerous expert statements, boat research expeditions and long-term monitoring data collected by volunteers at bird research stations. Results of Long-tailed Duck counts carried out by neighbouring BirdLife Estonia also helped to prove that the population had decreased considerably.

The majority of the Long-tailed Ducks breeding in northern Europe and western Siberia spend the winter in the Baltic Sea. These birds occur on the coast of Finland especially during spring and autumn migration. What happens to the birds during spring migration in Finland has impacts on the entire Eurasian population of the species.

The BirdLife Partnership hopes that the positive decision by the Finnish Court helps to preserve the species, not only in Finland but everywhere it migrates.
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