Birdlife office is inundated with reports of illegal shooting
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Update: Birdlife Malta’s Raptor Camp filmed a Marsh Harrier and a Honey-buzzard being shot down in different locations this morning. The organisation also received two shot protected birds following yesterday afternoon’s widespread shooting on protected birds particularly in the south of Malta.
The shot Marsh harrier was filmed by BirdLife Malta Executive Director Tolga Temuge who was accompanied by a local journalist at Has-Saptan. There were at least 6 six shots fired on the bird which was hit several times and fell into a private hunting site 50 meters away. Shortly after the police was called, two cars left the hunting lodge and drew away. The police had still not arrived on the scene 45 minutes after the call was made.
The killing of the Honey-buzzard was filmed by a team in Handaq early this morning. The bird was instantly killed after taking a shot. The team called the ALE and the police emergency but there was no reply.
Raptor Camp teams that covered only a small part of Malta confirmed this morning’s shooting of and shooting at of at least 16 additional protected birds, six of which were seen falling of the sky.
BirdLife Malta’s office yesterday afternoon was inundated with calls from members of the public who reported numerous illegal hunting reports. A woman, who was having a walk at Birzebbuga valley, told BirdLife that she saw many Honey-buzzards shot down. Another woman who was crying on the phone reported shooting of "big birds" in residential area in Attard. BirdLife even received calls of poachers shooting from the roofs of residences.
BirdLife Malta also received a shot Honey-buzzard and a Night Heron yesterday. The birds were sent to an independent vet who confirmed the nature of the injuries. BirdLife learned that there were more protected birds handed over to the police, but their numbers and whereabouts are not known to BirdLife. Birdlife also received two Quails which are legally huntable species.
"Despite overwhelming evidence of the scale of illegal hunting and the recent discovery of 201 dead protected birds at Mizieb, the Office of the Prime Minister remains silent. The shots are clearly not being heard from Castille but the usual impotent threats about hunters’ votes’ are." said Geoffrey Saliba, BirdLife Malta Campaigns Coordinator.
Following the FKNK’s claim yesterday that many of their members were suffering from psychological disorders and were on anti-depressants, BirdLife Malta called on the police commissioner to immediately investigate who these FKNK members were, and if needed suspend their guns and weapons licenses subject to psychiatric advice.
A further two Honey-buzzards have this afternoon been received by BirdLife Malta. Both birds have injuries consistent with gunshot injuries and will be passed onto the authorities.
Footage of the shootings from this morning can be seen on the BirdLife Malta website. www.birdlifemalta.org
Following an afternoon of frenetic shooting on protected birds, BirdLife Malta received this shot juvenile Night Heron, one of the three shot birds received yesterday. Photo by BirdLife Malta.