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Sci Adv. 2019 May 22;5(5):eaau2642. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aau2642. eCollection 2019 May.

Unravelling migration connectivity reveals unsustainable hunting of the declining ortolan bunting.

Author information

1
CESCO, UMR7204 MNHN-CNRS-Sorbonne Université, CP135, 43 Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France.
2
Ecologie Systématique et Evolution, Université Paris-Sud, CNRS, AgroParisTech, Université Paris-Saclay, Orsay, France.
3
Department of Biology and Environment and Climate Change Canada, University of Western Ontario, Room 2025 BGS Building, 1151 Richmond St., London, Ontario N6A 5B7, Canada.
4
Environment and Climate Change Canada, 11 Innovation Boulevard, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 3H5, Canada.
5
Division of Conservation Biology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.
6
Valais Field Station, Swiss Ornithological Institute, 11 Rue du Rhône, 1950 Sion, Switzerland.
7
Institute of Avian Research, An der Vogelwarte 21, 26386 Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
8
Department of Zoology, Southern Federal University, Bolshaja Sadovaja, Rostov-on-Don 344006, Russia.
9
Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, Lynx Edicions, Montseny 8, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain.
10
OMPO, 59 rue Ampère, 75017 Paris, France.
11
Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway.
12
Institute of Zoology, National Academy of Sciences, Academichnaya 27, 220072 Minsk, Belarus.
13
Comportement et Ecologie de la Faune Sauvage, Université de Toulouse, INRA (UR 035), 24 chemin de Borde-Rouge - Auzeville CS 52627, 31326 Castanet-Tolosan Cedex, France.
14
Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, The Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel.
15
Estonian Ornithological Society, Veski 4, 51005 Tartu, Estonia.
16
Department of Zoology, Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, 46 Vanemuise St., 51014 Tartu, Estonia.
17
Direction de la Recherche e de l'Expertise, Unité Avifaune Migratrice, ONCFS, 85 bis avenue de Wagram, 75017 Paris, France.
18
Estonian Environment Agency, Rõõmu tee St. 2, 50605 Tartu, Estonia.
19
Pajautos St. 11-40, LT 06203, Vilnius, Lithuania.
20
Centre for Environmental and Climate Research (CEC), Ekologihuset, Sölvegatan 37, Lund, Sweden.
21
Nostra Senyora de Montserrat 19, 08756 La Palma de Cervelló, Spain.
22
Finnish Museum of Natural History LUOMUS, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 17 Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 13, FI-00014, Finland.
23
Natural History Museum of Belgrade, Njegoševa 51, Serbia.
24
Institute for Biology und Environmental Sciences (IBU), Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Carl-von-Ossietzky-Straße 9-11, D-26129 Oldenburg, Germany.
25
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Natural Resources, Latokartanonkaari 9, 00790 Helsinki, Finland.
26
Department of Agricultural Research in Northern Sweden, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.
27
Department of Molecular Biology, University of Umeå, 901 85 Umeå, Sweden.
28
UMS PatriNat (AFB-CNRS-MNHN), CP41, 36 rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 75005 Paris, France.
29
Department of Behavioural Ecology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland.
30
Belogorie State Nature Reserve, per Monastyrskij dom 3, p Borisovka 309342, Borisovskij r-n, Belgorod Region, Russia.
31
Kvismare Bird Observatory, Rulleuddsvägen 10, S-178 51 Ekerö, Sweden.
32
BirdLife International, David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, UK.

Abstract

In France, illegal hunting of the endangered ortolan bunting Emberiza hortulana has been defended for the sake of tradition and gastronomy. Hunters argued that ortolan buntings trapped in southwest France originate from large and stable populations across the whole of Europe. Yet, the European Commission referred France to the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU) in December 2016 for infringements to legislation (IP/16/4213). To better assess the impact of hunting in France, we combined Pan-European data from archival light loggers, stable isotopes, and genetics to determine the migration strategy of the species across continents. Ortolan buntings migrating through France come from northern and western populations, which are small, fragmented and declining. Population viability modeling further revealed that harvesting in southwest France is far from sustainable and increases extinction risk. These results provide the sufficient scientific evidence for justifying the ban on ortolan harvesting in France.

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