Hunted – Trapped – Killed: Illegal Bird-Catching

Author: Simon Bruslund (Heidelberg Zoo, Heidelberg, Germany)

The Erfurt Museum of Natural History, Germany, is presenting an exhibition about illegal bird trapping and have included extensive information on the Silent Forest Campaign. For this purpose, the Museum signed up as a non-EAZA participant to the campaign in preparation of the exhibition. This is an excellent showcase of not only the Asian Songbird Crisis but also of how Songbirds were and are still being trapped right here in Europe.

Not only zoos, but other zoological institutions can participate in EAZA Conservation campaigns, and help informing the public and raising awareness about conservation issues. The exhibition called “Hunted – trapped – killed: Illegal bird-catching in Europe” at the Natural history museum of Erfurt is a perfect example of that.

As the dramatic title indicates, the exhibition mainly focuses on the problems with illegal hunting and killing of birds in the Mediterranean and other countries in Europe. In the wake of the exhibition, the Asian songbird crisis is also addressed with pictures and some of the campaign material. The world class taxidermists of the museum also prepared a singing White-rumped Shama (Kittacincla malabarica) in the setting of an original Javanese bamboo birdcage.

“We had key species of the Silent forest campaign in our collection, so it seemed appropriate to take part in the campaign” says conservation biologist Florian Schäfer, who curated the exhibition. A threaded bird species links the Asian Songbird Crises to Europe: The Yellow-breasted Bunting (Emberiza aureola), which occurs from northeastern Europe to far-eastern Asia, have shown a dramatic decline of over 90% within only 30 years throughout its range due to unsustainable trapping.

The exhibition is running from 09.02.2018 until 02.04.2018.  It’s not too late to check it out!