|A roe deer in the Shebenik natural reserve captured by a hidden camera | Photo courtesy of the International Union for Conservation of Nature|
“This is a drastic measure but necessary in order to stop the further degradation of wildlife, which is now at a critical minimum, and to impose controls on hunting activities that have been lacking for the last two decades,” Koka said on Sunday.
According to the minister, independent studies and data collected by the department of biodiversity at the environment ministry show that over the past decade there has been a steep decline in Albania’s wildlife population.
Koka said that there had been a decline of between 30 to 50 per cent in species that are allowed to be hunted, such as wild rabbits, foxes and mountain quail, but also in the population of species that are protected.
The minister blamed illegal hunting, the large number of registered hunting riffles and the government’s inability to collect fines.
“There are 75,000 registered hunting rifles in Albania, as well as a large number of illegal automatic weapons,” Koka said.
According to Koka, another factor that has aggravated the situation is the large number of “foreign citizens who hunt illegally in Albania”.
“Although the legal framework for the protection of wildlife has been improved over the last few years, the data unveils a situation that can only be restored through an emergency moratorium on hunting,” he concluded.