Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Georgia allows hunting of endangered species

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia allows hunting of rare animal species, which could lead to their extinction, environmentalists claim.
The legislative changes will also allow hunting in protected areas.
Hunting and protection of species is regulated by a kind of laws used under the Soviet Union called normative acts and decrees. The law doesn’t directly says one can kill an animal which is on the Red List, but new normative acts now say that authorities may decide what number of animals can be allowed to be killed.
“The decision about allowed amount of harvesting endangered wild animals is made by the Environment Minister based on an individual administrative-legal act,” the law says.
The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources issued a decree which now allows obtaining animals of certain species, including animals that are on the Red List, a list compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, showing the extinction risk of species.
The ministry defines the allowed amount of harvesting certain animals, including ones that are about extinction. Specifically, the following: coypu – 194 animals, rabbits – 615 animals, badger – 168 animals, forest marten – 157 animals, the stone marten – 157 animals, the wolf – 120 animals, jackal – 1453 animals, foxes – 162 animals, wild cat – 77 animals, wild pigs – 189 animals, roe – 417 animals, raccoon – 96 animals, pheasant – 416 animals, partridge – 713 animals, francolin – 50 animals.
Lasha Chkhartishvili, member of the Conservative Party and founder of Greenpeace Supporters Group says that it’s completely unclear why the Energy Ministry should issue such a normative act at all, it should be the competence of the environment ministry.
Georgia’s Ministry of Environment Protection was split up and nearly dissolved one year ago. Responsibility for natural resources was transferred to the Energy Ministry, while the task of overseeing protected areas was handed to the Ministry of Economic and Sustainable Development. The Environmental Protection Inspectorate was dissolved, and the only remaining responsibility for the Environment Ministry was to monitor air pollution. It was also physically moved and now shares offices with the Energy Ministry in Tbilisi’s Ortachala district.
The hunting season is getting closer and the adopted changes create serious danger to the animals if countermeasures are not taken soon. Greenpeace Supporters Group held a rally on Thursday in front of the parliament building to protest the changes in the legislation that they say will legalize hunting in protected territories and of animal species on the Red List.

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