Lapwing - plover trap in Champagne
At the Aisne, a tributary of the Meuse in the northern French Champagne, highly endangered lapwings, golden and grey plovers are caught with nets to this day. Everywhere in the river valley you can find artificial square ponds with an island in the middle. In autumn, a two-part net of about 100 square metres is stretched on the island. With live decoys and whistle lures the birds are guided to the trapping nets, where the trapper lurks in a hut. Once enough birds have landed, the net is manually triggered and springs over the birds. The same method is used when catching plovers.
The populations of lapwings and golden plovers are endangered throughout Europe. In addition to shooting, which is also allowed in France, allowing the trapping of rare waders, is anything but sustainable and should have been banned long ago in accordance with the EU Birds Directive.
In 1993, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) launched a major campaign against the capture of plovers in the Aisne delta. In particular the German, but also Dutch and Belgian media reported in detail on the topic and exerted substantial pressure on politicians and authorities. After a formal environmental complaint by CABS in 1994, the administration of the Ardennes-Champagne department decided not to issue any new trapping permits - the tradition was to die out with the last bird trapper. In 1990, more than 50 bird trappers operated their huge trapping sites here, and in 2010, 16 of the lapwing trappers were still alive - and so the trend continues to fall!
Through lawsuits filed by our partner association LPO and One Voice, the Supreme Court has declared plover trapping illegal in 2021 and 2022. But there is no reason to sound the all-clear yet, as the government in Paris seems to continue to look for tricks to re-authorise bird trapping!