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Campaign to Stop Turtle Dove Hunting in North Cyprus


Turtle Dove (Photograph by Olkan Ergüler)

Turtle Dove (Photograph by Barış Saydam)

Turtle Dove (Photograph by Barış Saydam)

Turtle Dove (Photograph by Birtan Gökeri)

Turtle Dove (Photograph by Birtan Gökeri)

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur has a long lasting cultural significance for humans in Europe and Asia. It found a place in local lyrics and in religious songs. However, at the same time, it has long been hunted as food through almost all of its range.

Poster designed for the campaign. Click for larger image.

Turtle dove breeds through Europe and West Asia, yet almost its entire population migrates south to mid-Africa for winter. Its widely distributed breeding population migrates to a relatively narrow wintering range mostly converging on the Mediterranean.

Recent studies showed that its European population has declined about 78% over the last 30 years, while its Western Russian population has decreased by 90% across the same period. Similar reports are received from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other breeding grounds. Accordingly, it is likely that its global population has declined about 80% in the last 40 years.

In 2016, due to these declines and continued threats, its’ global conservation status was elevated from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Vulnerable’, placing it in the same extinction threat category as species like the African elephant and lion. It is more endangered than the humpback whale and the Mediterranean loggerhead turtle.

Considering its current status, international efforts are needed now, to allow the recovery the turtle dove. Further hunting will contribute to its continued decline and eventually its extinction.


World Distribution of Turtle Dove. Yellow: Breeding range, Blue: Wintering range

Turtle Dove population change in Europe since 1980. (source: EBCC/RSPB/BirdLife/Statistics Netherlands)

Contribute to its conservation by signing the petition to remove turtle dove from the legal target list of hunting birds in northern Cyprus.

For detailed information please visit IUCN and/or BirdLife International website about species current status.


Billboards and video, produced to support this campaign are financed through the Raise Your Voice Advocate for Your Rights Small Grants implemented by Naci Talat Foundation and IKME and funded by the European Union.

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