Two more birds of prey shot, including one in Gozo – BirdLife Malta
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BirdLife Malta has said in a statement today that the total of casualties of the spring hunting season has now risen to ten. Saying that it had retrieved another two shot birds of prey in the last two days.
These were a shot Marsh Harrier which was retrieved by members of the public two days ago from Mgarr, and a shot male Lesser Kestrel which was retrieved by the Gozo Police yesterday.
BirdLife said that “while the Marsh Harrier had shotgun injuries to the eye and to the head, the Lesser Kestrel was suffering from injuries to the right wing and the left leg.”
In these circumstances, BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana said that he is today reiterating BirdLife Malta’s call on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to immediately close this year’s spring hunting season as he had done two years ago after four birds were illegally shot.
“This would be in line with the zero tolerance approach promised by the Prime Minister. Despite our calls, however, the only reaction we have had is absolute silence,” he said.
BirdLife stated, “all the shot birds retrieved since the start of the season are frequent migrants over the Maltese Islands in spring and heavily protected species in the European Union, and having received ten in just over a week of spring hunting is a mere indication of how many of these birds are being targeted illegally.”
Soon after the hunting referendum in 2015, BirdLife said that the Government had taken the bold decision to close the spring hunting season prematurely when a protected Common Kestrel crashed bleeding into the yard of St Edward’s College in Cottonera while the children were on their school break leaving the young students traumatised.
“Immediately after the referendum, the Prime Minister had warned that he would not tolerate abuse and true to his word, on that occasion he closed the season after four birds were illegally shot.”
BirdLife Malta concluded by asking “what has changed since 2015?”
Photo: Shot Lesser Kestrel retrieved by the Gozo Police- Photo by Filip Wieckowski. And BirdLife Malta footage of the shot male Lesser Kestrel retrieved by the Police in Gozo