The Malta Independent 15 April 2021, Thursday

At least 10 birds of prey illegally shot over the weekend – Birdlife Malta

Monday, 29 March 2021, 17:36 Last update: about 16 days ago

No less than 10 birds of prey have been illegally shot, forcing the birds’ migration journey to Europe to be cut short, BirdLife Malta has said.

The announcement was shared on BirdLife Malta’s social media platforms, alongside pictures showing a wounded osprey and other wounded birds of prey

The environmental organisation also announced that 7 Marsh Harriers were illegally shot. They were recovered by the BirdLife Malta and the police over the weekend.

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“The spring hunting season hasn’t opened yet but illegal hunting is rampant across Malta and Gozo”, the organisation said.

A video showed a wounded marsh harrier was attached to the tweet, with a member of BirdLife Malta saying they will be taking the bird to the government vet.

Alongside ospreys and marsh harriers, common kestrels were also shot down.

The shootings coincide with bird migration season, whereby easterly winds force birds to fly towards Malta and Gozo. Hunters have been taking advantage of the occasion to shoot down various birds of prey in recent days.

Here are the photos of the illegally shot protected birds recovered over the weekend from different areas in Malta and...

Posted by BirdLife Malta on Monday, March 29, 2021

Last Monday, it was reported that two ospreys were shot down by hunters in Gozo and Delimara, with these birds unable to make it further to their European breeding grounds. The next day, a highly protected Black Kite bird was shot down, marking another incident of illegal hunting in Malta.

Last Friday, BirdLife Malta filed a judicial protest in court against the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Gozo and the Head of the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) to prevent the spring hunting season from opening this year.

The organisation argues that only 2.7% of all 10,675 licensed hunters in Malta declared their catches to the government last autumn, proving that there is not enough sufficient data for the government to reach a decision on opening spring hunting in 2021.

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana stated, on the matter, that the government “beggars belief that of over 10,000  hunters only 292 hunters declared they shot birds in the five months of the autumn hunting season. Just as it beggars belief that PM Abela refuses to act to see that the basic tenets of the law are respected”.

 

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