Ministry opens migratory birds’ haven to hunting, National Parks Directorate has last word
VAN – Anadolu Agency
Lying just a few kilometers east of its bigger kin the Van Lake in eastern Anatolia, Erçek Lake is an essential haven for migratory birds. AA photoErçek Lake, which is home to some of eastern Anatolia’s richest wildlife, has been opened to hunting by the Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry. The decision, however, was later put on hold by the Conservation and National Parks Directorate, which for asked an inspection after a generalized outcry.
Lying just a few kilometers east of its bigger kin the Van Lake, Erçek is an essential haven for migratory birds.
Experts say that more than 200 species and 20,000 birds stop at the lake to rest, feed themselves and reproduce; in a habitat poised to become the target board of avid hunters.
Mustafa Sarı, a biologist from Van’s 100. Yıl University, said that they had sent official letters both to the Van Governor’s Office and the Conservation and National Parks Directorate to review the new status as soon as they heard the decision.
A place where children will be acquainted with arms...
“For years now we are telling people ‘put down your rifle, grab a camera instead. Don’t let Erçek Lake become a hunting place.’ This is a place where the locals, children living here are acquainted with birds. It will now become a place where they will be acquainted with arms,” Sarı said.
He also added that they had launched an annual festival about flamingos four years ago to promote the small lake. “This place that hosts a yearly festival and is home to thousands of migratory birds including flamingos has to be protected,” he said.
A local Forestry Ministry official confirmed that the lake had been opened to hunting on March 2013, but maintained that no hunting had been allowed so far.
Meanwhile the Ministry published a statement that, following Sarı’s official request on July 26, the decision had been subjected to an inspection by the Conservation and National Parks directorate.
“Although the status is not canceled, as no quotas were granted yet, hunting will not be possible this year,” the statement said.
The ministry also said that only 38 of the 622 species of birds living in Turkey were allowed to be hunted this year.
Sarı said that a decision to open Erçek lake to hunting would be a “bemusing, if not tragicomic.” “While we are engaging in works to ensure the future of the generations of birds, they take decisions that will only endanger their subsistence,” he said.