what the court ruling says

It is an eight-page document with the aridity typical of administrative justice decisions. But in which it is about becoming the brown animal with serious cooing: the black grouse. Imprisoned by the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) Paca, the Marseille courtroom judge had to rule on the orders issued by the prefect of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence that authorized the hunting of 42 specimens between September 18 and November 10.

Questioned the basis for calculating the 42 specimens that can be hunted

The magistrate ordered, on Wednesday, October 5, the suspension of the prefectural texts. And therefore the hunting of the black grouse in the lower Alps. “Either [sa] hunting is not prohibited in a general and absolute way, it must be regulated in such a way that the maximum number of birds hunted does not compromise the conservation efforts of this species in its area of ​​distribution”, indicates the ordinance that the dolphin released consulted

However, the judge, immersing himself in specialized statistics, those of the Mountain Galliformes Observatory, indicates that the calculated reproduction rates should be subject to caution. In one of the three territorial divisions “it could not be determined” and in the other two it was established “from a staff considered too low”. Therefore, the magistrate concludes: “Under these conditions, the capture of 42 capercaillies compromises conservation efforts. […] and ignores the conservation objective set by the directive of November 30, 2009”. The State is also condemned to pay 1,500 euros to the association, in application of the code of administrative justice.

The LPO wants to stop hunting the black grouse

In a press release, the LPO Paca “welcomes” this decision. And it wants to go further: the association “calls for the withdrawal of mountain galliformes [dont le tétras-lyre fait partie] huntable species. Because, says the LPO, the “black grouse is a species considered sensitive by the scientific community.” Which points to a modification of its natural habitat linked in a rush “to global warming, the intensification of certain forest or pastoral practices, the increase in outdoor recreation, as well as hunting.”

According to the lists presented in the National Inventory of Natural Heritage (INPN), the black grouse is on the red list: in a state of “almost threatened” at the national level; to the “vulnerable” in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

When asked, the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence prefecture indicated that it did not wish to comment on this dossier at this stage.

In Hautes-Alpes, an identical procedure was launched

The Alpine Society for the Protection of Nature (SAPN-FNE 05) and the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) I had announced it at the dawn of summer : They would challenge the application of the decrees that pave the way for the hunting of ptarmigan and black grouse in the Hautes-Alpes. If the red partridge does not appear in the species in question for the 2022-2023 campaign, it is not the case of the black grouse. Total, according to the decree issued by the prefecture of Haut-Alpine on September 16, up to 135 specimens can be hunted. “It is a very significant number. Last year it was set at 46. The hunt opened on September 25 and will end on November 11. As soon as the prefect issued his decree, we challenged it, ”explains Alain Girodon, administrator of the LPO. However, the case will only be examined on October 24 by administrative justice.

For its part, the text of the prefecture is based on “data that show a very good level of reproduction of the species” and considers that the hunting plan applied “guarantees the application of good management of the species in question.” In Hautes-Alpes, the Marseille administrative court has already won the associations case in 2017, 2019, 2020 Y 2021.

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