Black Stork shot down today in San Blas Valley, Gozo – CABS
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The Committee Against Bird Slaughter has said in a statement that shortly after midday today a poacher shot down a strictly protected Black Stork in San Blas Valley, Gozo. According CABS the bird was recovered, still alive, after a search by their Bird Guards but it died in the arms of its rescuers moments before it was handed over to the attending Gozo police patrol.
“It was identified clearly as a juvenile bird that had fledged only a few months earlier before building up the strength to leave on its first migration to its winter quarters in Africa,” CABS said.
CABS said that “the recovery of the bird, thus denying its display in an illegal collection by a trophy killer, was the result of a strenuous and extensive search carried out by the Bird Guards team deployed to Gozo in close cooperation with the Gozo local police and Gozo ALE, who were rapidly at the scene.
“The search was triggered off by the report of an eyewitness, who had directly witnessed the shooting down and reported it to the BirdLife office on Malta.”
BirdLife said it alerted the CABS team on Gozo who then organised the search together with the police. “We are extremely grateful to the vigilant witnesses and all police officers involved in the incident for their assistance and prompt reaction,” stated David Conlin, CABS team leader on Gozo. “Although the bird could sadly not be rescued alive, the incident demonstrates that a functioning local alert chain, involving all agencies involved, is an important instrument in the fight against poaching,” Conlin concluded.
CABS further commented “that the shooting down of the stork was the tragic climax of a series of illegal killings of protected bird species this Sunday.”
CABS said that earlier in the day “teams on the Gebel Cantar plateau on Malta observed hunters shooting down two Honey Buzzards en route from their night roost in Buskett Gardens to the coast. ALE officers alerted by CABS searched the area for the birds and their killers but without success.
“Two more birds were shot at but flew on unscathed. Near Safi a CABS team filmed three attempts to shoot down a Marsh Harrier. The injured bird flew on – visibly weakened. The same morning another CABS team below Mgarr (Malta) discovered a bird trapper who, despite the ban on trapping, had activated his clap nets. ALE officers, alerted by the CABS team, arrived with 10 minutes, interviewed the man, and initiated proceedings against him.”
“The fact that as many as six severe breaches of hunting regulations occurred within such a short space of time shows that Malta is a long way from solving the poaching problem,” commented CABS spokesperson Axel Hirschfeld. “We now expect the authorities, as in the case of the shooting of three Flamingos last week, to do their utmost to apprehend the offenders and bring them to court.”
CABS said it will remain on Malta and Gozo with 10 teams until the end of the month, and will continue to monitor roosts and migration corridors of protected migrant bird species, and bring poachers to justice, in cooperation with the police.
CABS said that it can contacted on telephone numbers 99554442 (Malta) or 99646321 (Gozo).
Photograph – CABS