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Steve Micklewright, BirdLife Malta’s Executive Director, has thanked members of the public for their help in monitoring the Salina saltpans yesterday evening, where it has been reported that poachers shot and killed a flamingo at about eleven o’clock last night.
Several people called police to report hearing shots and eyewitnesses to the incident have come forward to aid police in their investigations. Mr Micklewright said, “Without the help of several local residents living next to the saltpans, who were watching the area where the flamingo was last seen, vital evidence about the culprits may not have been available to the police.”
BirdLife Malta also praised the police response to the incident. BirdLife’s Conservation Manager, Nicholas Barbara said, “The work of the ALE and Naxxar District Police in responding to the incident and conducting follow-up investigations has been excellent.”
BirdLife called on any members of public with further information relating to the case to come forward and report it to the investigating police.
Salina regularly attracts flamingos and other coastal wading birds and is designated as a Bird Sanctuary for its importance to migrating and resident species. But, BirdLife said that it remains a black-spot for illegal hunting of protected birds. “This is the third reported incident of flamingos being shot by poachers in the area in less than a year,” said Mr Barbara.
Mr Micklewright concluded, “Considering the interest of the public- both Maltese and foreign tourists- in seeing and enjoying these birds when they come to Malta and the perfect habitat at Salina, we would like the authorities to work with BirdLife Malta and adapt their plans for the restoration of the saltpans to incorporate the creation of an area where flamingos and other species can safely reside, rest and feed- and, who knows, maybe even breed. This would add hugely to the tourist potential of an already historic site.”