The Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS) has urged drivers to reduce their speed in the Upper Rock nature reserve after two Barbary Partridge chicks were run over and killed in separate incidents.
GONHS expressed “grave concern” about the deaths of the birds, which are a protected species, in separate incidents on Engineer Road this week.
At this time of the year, parent birds are regularly seen leading their chicks along paths, often crossing the road, GONHS said.
“There has been a welcome increase in the Barbary Partridge population, following a joint captive breeding project between GONHS and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change [DEHCC],” GONHS said yesterday.
“GONHS calls on motorists to drive with care through the Nature Reserve, especially during this period.”
“A reduction in speed and greater patience should eliminate such regrettable incidents entirely.”
“We also ask that the DEHCC consider introducing measures to reduce speeds within the Upper Rock road network, where other wildlife such as our Barbary Macaques are also at risk of being killed.”
The Barbary Partridge is considered Gibraltar’s national bird and is listed under Schedule 3 of the Nature Protection Act, which provides the highest level of protection under the Act.
It is depicted on the GONHS logo as Gibraltar’s flagship bird species.
The Gibraltar Government also added its voice of concern following the deaths of the two birds.
“Visitors to the Gibraltar Nature Reserve on the Upper Rock might have recently noticed the presence of Barbary Partridge chicks along the main roads,” it said in a statement.
“This has become a common occurrence during the past couple of years as a direct result of the ongoing re-population programme implemented by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change (DEHCC) and the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society.”
“The DEHCC would like to remind the public that this is a sensitive time for young birds in the Upper Rock. The public are therefore kindly asked to exercise caution and extra vigilance whilst driving through the reserve to ensure that any young birds are not disturbed or harmed.”