An EU LIFE+ funded project to develop an International Species Action Plan for the turtle dove began in 2015 and after three years of hard work, collaboration and cooperation a flyway scale plan to conserve this iconic species was officially launched in May 2018.
The process involved more than 220 experts, from a variety of disciplines and nations – 50 range states to be precise! It has been fantastic to see the turtle dove – a fabled symbol of fidelity – bring together such a diverse array of people.
The Action Plan details a set of conservation actions to tackle issues including habitat loss, lack of food availability and the impact of hunting over a ten year period across the species’ European and African range.
The actions detailed in the plan are organised under seven key objectives designed to improve the prospects of the turtle dove:
Direct conservation actions (most critical first):
- Good quality habitats, with available and accessible water and food, are maintained and increased on the breeding grounds;
- Illegal killing in the European Union is eradicated and reduced elsewhere;
- Hunting across the range of the European turtle-dove is carried out at sustainable levels;
- Good quality habitats, with available and accessible water and food, are maintained and increased at key sites for stopover and wintering.
- International co-operation is enhanced, through enabling sharing of information and expertise;
- Stakeholder awareness is raised;
- Knowledge gaps are filled, critically in areas that help increase the understanding of factors acting on the wintering grounds.
You can view the Action Plan here
The publication of the Action Plan marks a significant step forward in work to conserve the turtle-dove across its European and African range. The challenge now is to ensure that the actions in the plan become a reality on the ground, making a significant difference for turtle doves locally, nationally and internationally.
The European Turtle-dove Action Plan project was co-financed by the European Commission Directorate General for the Environment, the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and each of the project partners.
Photo: Ian Fisher from RSPB helps to launch the Turtle Dove Species Action Plan in May 2018 © RSPB