Limitations on hunting activities due to the current climatic conditions and to the fires in Italy

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ISPRA ensures a constant monitoring of meteoclimatic and hydrological variables, and the evidences collected in 2017 suggest that 2017 has been characterized since the beginning of the year by a highly critical meteorological situation characterized by very high temperatures and prolonged periods of drought, which resulted in an acute stress situation throughout Italy.
Limitations on hunting activities due to the current climatic conditions and to the fires in Italy

This situation, also aggravated by a dramatic increase in both the number of fires and the area impacted by fires.This situation carries significant risks for the conservation of wildlife and is likely to have, in the short and medium term, negative effects on the population dynamics of many species. In fact, the persistence of extreme climatic conditions in Italy can affect the physical conditions of aninals, reduce their reproductive success and increase the mortality of young and adult individuals. The national legislation (Law 157/92, art. 19 paragraph 1) prescripts that in the presence of particularly adverse climatic events, Regional administrations can suspend or limit the hunting season. Specifically, recalling the provisions of law, ISPRA recommends the following measures, to be adapted to the local circumstances.

 

Hunting dogs training - Dog training can cause additional stress for wildlife and it is advisable to suspend this kind of activity until the current climatic conditions change.

Still hunting hunting - As long as the water deficit continues, still hunting should be suspended in particular close to water sources that could cause a concentration of animals.

Hunting of water birds – The draught reduces the extent of wetlands with impacts on water birds. ISPRA recommends to postpone the opening of the hunting season to these birds to October, evalutating the dynamics of the climatic conditions.

Hunting of non migratory species – Also limits to the hunting of non-migratory species should be considered assessed on a case-by-case basis, based on reproductive success data locally collected. Particular attention must be paid to restocking of small game species, that in the present climatic conditions is likely to have an even lower success rate.

Hunting in areas impacted by fires - Hunting can worsen the conditions of the most vulnerable species not only in areas affected by fires, but also in adjacent areas. The competent Administrations should consider appropriate measures to ensure that the ban on hunting in forestry areas (as envisaged by Law No. 353/2000, Article 10, paragraph 1, for woody areas only) is extended for at least two years to all areas covered by fires (bushes, natural and semi-natural grasses, etc.) as well as adjacent areas to the same areas.