A dying tradition
Lapwing and plover trapping in Champagne
On the River Aisne, a tributary of the Maas in the Champagne region of Northern France, a bird trapping tradition is dying out thanks to a campaign mounted by CABS. In 1980 more than 50 trappers operated huge trapping installations. Rectangular ponds, with a small island in the centre, are to be found everywhere in the river valley. In autumn a two-part clap net of some 100 m² in area is set out under tension on this island. Using live decoy Lapwings tied by their underparts to the ground and decoy call pipes, the wild birds are lured to the trapping site where the trapper lies in wait in his hut. When enough birds have settled the trapper manually activates the net that claps together enclosing the birds. The same method is used to trap Golden and Grey Plovers.
Lapwing and Golden Plover populations in Europe have unfavourable status. Permitting these birds to be trapped, in addition to hunting that is allowed for both species in France, is anything other than sustainable. The practice should have been banned long ago in accordance with the provisions of the EU bird protection guidelines.
In 1993 CABS mounted a large scale campaign in protest against Lapwing and plover trapping inn the Aisne valley. The Dutch and Belgian, and in particular the German news media, reported the matter fully and exercised considerable pressure on politicians and the responsible authorities. Following the lodging of an environmental complaint by CABS, the Ardennes-Champagne administration decided not to issue any new trapping permits. The tradition was destined to die a natural death. In 2009 only 16 of the Lapwing trappers was still alive - a declining trend!