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Albanians shall live in harmony with nature

Albanians shall live in harmony with nature
SPECIAL REPORT/The Constitutional Court rejects the motion to cancel the moratorium

By Edison Kurani

During the 20th century, 4 species of mammals have disappeared in Albania, while 17 species of birds no longer nest in the territory of the country.

In the past 25 years, around 122 of vertebrae have lost more than 50% of their population and the risk that these species head toward extinction is high.

While forests act as a “home” for the wild fauna, from 2000 until 2014, their area has reduced by 32.000 hectares.

If the situation had persisted with this pace, then there would only be a minimum of species surviving in the wild. Albanian environmental organizations, PPNEA, ASPMB and AOS along with their partner international organizations Euronatur and BridLife, have strongly lobbied for the improvement of the wild fauna.

As a result of this critical situation and pressure by environmental groups, a hunting moratorium was introduced in the Republic of Albania for a period of 2 years, from 2014 until 2016.

But, the 2 year moratorium showed that the time for the regeneration of populations was not enough and the legal reforms to regulate hunting could not be made within this deadline.

Under these conditions, a decision was taken to extend the moratorium by 5 years, from 2016 until 2021. This extension would allow for a partial regeneration of species that have a long life span and a complex biological cycle.

This moratorium is in line with the moratorium of forests and together, they are indispensable for the recovery of the wild fauna and the protection of their habitats in Albania.

Although the legal measures in power are necessary for the survival of special species and the recovery of the fauna populations in general, stakeholders in favor of hunting have demanded the abrogation of the moratorium by filing a motion at the Constitutional Court.

Their main argument was the fact that they are being denied the right of hunting and financial activity in the sale and purchase of hunting materials is being minimized.

These days, the Constitutional Court of Albania has deliberated the request and has left the law on moratorium in power.

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Wild fauna species depend on each other and they cannot be discriminated as species which are hunting and species which are not hunted and in this aspect, the state must guarantee all species equal chances of survival.

The head of PPNEA, Kujtim Mersini says that wild animals are a national asset, they’re the property of everyone and not property of a particular group of society.

According to him, the situation with wild animals in Albania is critical and in critical situations, drastic measures are required.

“We see this moratorium as necessary to offer nature peace in order for it to recover. On the other hand, this period will serve help people to reorganize themselves”, he continued.

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Based on the existing law on hunting, there are many factors which make it impossible the application of that law in those conditions. Above all, there’s no monitoring or full inventory of the animals that are hunted, because the law states that only 10% of the natural excess may be hunted. Today, this data is impossible to be secured.

Mersini says that a minimum of another three years are needed, with the help by experts from the Association of Hunters to carry out an inventory for the first time in Albania. Until then, hunters must be patient. But not all of them, because there are many of them who hunt illegally in the forests of Albania. /balkaneu.com/

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