BIRDWATCHERS are to trek through Spain in a bid to save turtle doves.
The four Brits will walk 700 miles from Tarifa to Asturias from February 5 to raise money to help protect the bird, whose population has fallen by 93% in the UK and 74% in Europe since 1970.
Aiming to complete the fundraising challenge in 28 days, their path will mirror that taken by the doves when migrating to the UK from Africa, where they spend two thirds of the
The money collected will be given to the ‘Operation Turtle Dove’ project, which is being spearheaded by the RSPB.
“Last year, turtle doves were classed as being at a real threat of extinction”, said Jonny Rankin, 33, who is leading the team.
“Their decline is due to a myriad of issues which include habitat and food loss, both caused by intensive agriculture and construction.
“They are also being illegally shot by hunters in Spain and France. It’s a really sad situation.”
He added: “What’s happening to the turtle dove is representative of what is happening to a huge group of birds that migrate to and from Africa as a whole.”
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