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Helsinki, Finland (AFP) – Finland’s top administrative court stepped in on Wednesday to suspend hunting permits against a protected species of eagle on a Finnish island, responding to an appeal lodged by environmental groups.

The Supreme Administrative Court was ruling on an appeal against the decision by the authorities on the demilitarised and autonomous Aland islands to allow the hunting of six white-tailed sea eagles there.

The white-tailed sea eagle is a protected species under EU law.

“Two environmental organisations have appealed the decision of the government of Aland,” the court said in a statement, adding that a final decision on the case would be given after hearing the parties.

The local government on the Aland islands had authorised the killing of the protected birds inside a limited area between May 14 and June 9, to protecting another bird, the endangered duck-like eider.

Hunting permits were regarded as necessary because the eider population nesting there is threatened by the eagle, a local government representative told AFP earlier this week.

But Finland’s director of the international bird organisation BirdLife, Aki Arkiomaa, said Monday BirdLife and a local bird organisation had filed a complaint to the Supreme Administrative Court.

The organisations were asking the court to overrule the decision to issue the hunting licences, Arkiomaa told AFP.

“There is no legal basis in the EU’s Birds Directive to permit the killing of the eagles”, Arkiomaa said.

ank/jj

© Agence France-Presse

(Featured image: White-tailed eagle – Haliaeetus albicilla – in Svolvaer, Norway. Credit: Yathin S Krishnappa | CC BY-SA 3.0)

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