The title of this post says it all – while Europe’s birders are looking forward to the first swallows and warblers arriving, Malta’s illegal hunters are greeting the coming of the spring by getting their guns out and shooting everything that moves.
I’d like to see the goddam hunting lobby on the Bloody Archipelago defend these latest examples of barbarity and stupidity. The comments fields are below this press-release you pathetic vandals…
18 March 2010, Malta – “Witnesses yesterday watched a driver in a van in Mgarr stop his vehicle and start shooting at a flock of protected birds of prey (tajr tal-priha) through his car window, the latest in a series of illegal shooting incidents as spring migration started.
In the last few days, as birds of prey started arriving, BirdLife Malta alone was given four protected birds of prey with gun shot injuries as reports of illegal hunting increased.
Last Wednesday a surveillance team, which was watching a flock of seven Lesser Kestrels (Spanjulett Sekond) in Mgarr, witnessed a poacher in a van shooting at the flock from inside his vehicle, hitting one of the birds. The flock flew off and a female dropped into a wheat field after briefly fluttering away from her perch. The team filmed the hunter driving off and immediately contacted the ALE and the video footage will be passed on to the police.
Only yesterday, BirdLife Malta received a Marsh Harrier (Baghdan Ahmar) and a Lesser Kestrel, a species that is given additional protection in Europe due to its declining populations (1).
Another Lesser Kestrel was handed over to BirdLife by members of the public after it was shot in Marsascala last Tuesday. A Common Kestrel (Spanjulett) suffering gunshot wounds was also given to BirdLife after it was targeted in the south of Malta, in Zabbar, last Saturday.
All birds were immediately taken to a veterinary and reported to the Office of the Prime Minister, ALE and MEPA. Due to the severity of their injuries, two shot protected birds of prey had to be euthanized by the vet while the Mash Harrier and one of the Lesser Kestrels have been passed onto the authorities to be rehabilitated.
“If we alone are getting a shot bird of prey on an almost daily basis, who knows how many are being slaughtered out there in the absence of the police, as the ALE are once again down to one patrol vehicle and are not in a position to effectively respond to most of the illegal hunting reports,” Andre Raine, BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager said.
The latest illegal hunting incidents occur as around 120,000 people signed BirdLife’s international petition (2) calling on the Prime Minister to take strong action against the illegal killing of protected species and refrain from opening another spring hunting season to give wild birds a chance to breed
“However, as expected the OPM and the hunting lobby will once again unite in their denial of the seriousness of illegal killing during another migration. The situation in Malta has become like a clichéd horror movie with endless sequels to it,” Dr Raine said.
For more information please contact:
Geoffrey Saliba, BirdLife Malta Campaigns Coordinator on 21 347 644 or 7905 9501 or email@example.com
Dr. Andre Raine, BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager on 21 347 644 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This Lesser Kestrel was recovered shot on Tuesday. Due to the extensive gunshot injuries the bird was euthanized by a vet.
Photo by BirdLife Malta.
This Marsh Harrier and Lesser Kestrel were both recovered shot on Wednesday. Both protected birds were this morning handed over to the police for rehabilitation.
Photo by BirdLife Malta.
(1) In Europe, the Lesser Kestrel is a Species of Conservation Concern, due to a large historical decline as shown by BirdLife International’s data. The Lesser Kestrel is also considered to be a globally threatened species, and is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, based on BirdLife International’s data.
(2) The petition can be signed at http://www.birdlifemalta.org/petition/