Soaring Eurasian Crane population is a win for EU conservation

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Poland is home to a third of Europe’s Eurasian Cranes – the majority of these are to be found in EU-protected Natura 2000 sites

According to the EU, 43% of European bird species face population declines. Yet the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive, two of Europe’s most important conservation laws, are currently under review.

The impact of the directives has been remarkable, particularly for birds. Under the Birds Directive, birds, nests and eggs are all protected. The laws also encourage targeted conservation initiatives. A programme to protect the breeding sites of the Common or Eurasian Crane, which covered 2,800 sites in total, was a major factor in the overall Eurasian Crane population in Europe rising from 45,000 to 300,000 between 1985 and 2012.

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Some more surprising species are protected under the directive. The Greater Flamingo (the EU’s only breeding flamingo) depends for its survival on a certain wetlands, which are being sacrificed for tourist developments. Other vulnerable species which depend on conservation laws include storks, eagles and the roseate tern.

The Birds and Habitats Directives have been instrumental in European conservation, in some cases bringing populations at risk of fading out back to health. The outcome of the review is likely to be a diluted version of the existing law, undermining its ability to protect species and ecosystems. Instead of risking the directives being scaled back, we need to ensure these laws are being successfully implemented.

European citizens can vote to protect the Nature Directives, but the public consultation comes to an end on 26 July. ClientEarth has filled out the survey and our campaign partners have come up with a ready-made set of answers to submit to the Commission. Please use the handy tool below and vote to preserve these valuable laws!

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