To better understand the common quail (Coturnix coturnix), numerous hunters from all around Spain have joined the Royal Spanish Hunting Federation and Fundación Artemisan. Together, they have initiated the most extensive research project ever conducted on the Common Quail, which had the power to reshape the future of quail hunting in Spain.
In the first two years, more than five thousand hunters participated in this project, resulting in over twenty-seven thousand biological samples sent to Lleida University. Hunters also contributed by conducting censuses and providing information about the quails they harvested.
Other scientific methods have been applied; two hundred and fifty-seven quail have been banded, and some of them have been equipped with GPS transmitters. All these methodologies have resulted in the first estimation of the quail population in Spain, which stands at 3.2 million individuals. As a result, the study has clarified that the Spanish Common Quail population is doing well.
This information, based on a well-conducted research project, has significantly contributed to the decision not to ban common quail hunting in Spain. This example demonstrates the influence that hunters and stakeholders can have on political decision-makers. It also highlights the importance of hunters in collecting data for scientific purposes, their willingness to contribute to a more natural and sustainable future, along with their vast workforce, has the power to support more in-depth wildlife conservation studies.
Conservation action is essential for biodiversity and the efforts of hunters should be well integrated into future European and national frameworks to support local restoration actions. This project is another excellent example of how hunters are already contributing to the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and nature restoration targets.
Most Relevant Conclusions from the Proyecto Coturnix for the European Context:
- The first two years of the study indicate that the population of common quails migrating from Western Europe through Spain remains stable.
- The participation of over five thousand hunters has facilitated a representative, comparable, and reliable study, which can support more effective management policies at the global, national, and regional levels.
- The common quail is a species dependent on its habitat, highlighting the need for a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that promotes agrosystems with high natural value.
- Hunters should take the lead in promoting healthy ecosystems, sustainable common quail harvesting, and transparency in their contributions.
Sources: Artemisan Foundation Website (https://fundacionartemisan.com/); Coturnix Report 2020 and 2021.