ALMOST fitting the term ‘Poacher turned Gamekeeper’ the Atremisan Foundation which speaks for hunters throughout Spain is to invest €250,000 in studying the Red-legged partridge.
Its aim is to try to ensure that hunters are able to enjoy their pastime whilst those who are worried about the demise of wildlife and the effects on the environment are also considered.
It appears that this small game bird Alectoris rufa, also known as the French partridge has seen a colossal drop in numbers in Spain with 70 per cent of the population disappearing in the last 40 years and much of this has to be blamed on hunting.
Funding a four year study on the partridge and other similar birds, the Foundation hopes to be able to produce a plan which will see a halt to the rapid decline in numbers and will call on farmers and owners of hunting land to implement measures which will assist the birds.
The project has been named RUFA and represents collaboration between the Foundation and the hunting federations of Andalucia, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Murcia where the first research will take place but it is hoped to expand the project throughout the country, once development sites have been set up and there is a proven growth in the bird population.
Details of the plans have been presented to the Ministry of Agriculture as well as regional councils in the hope that they will also help fund the project.