Frisian lapwing egg hunt licence cancelled by court

lapwing eggsThe Frisian tradition of collecting the first lapwing eggs may not now go ahead as planned because of concerns about the decline in lapwing numbers.

The Council of State on Wednesday ruled the licence awarded to egg hunters by the Friesland provincial council should be suspended pending further research.

The council has not properly examined the size of the local lapwing population and future trends, the highest Dutch legal authority said.

The ruling means the traditional hunt, which runs from March 1 to April 8, cannot now go ahead.

The Council of State says the lapwing population had almost halved by 2013 from its 1996 level.

Friesland is the only place in Europe where the eggs can be collected on cultural heritage grounds. Last year, egg hunters were licenced to collect 5,939 eggs and no limit had yet been set for 2015.

The first eggs are always ceremonially presented to the mayors of towns and villages where they are found.

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