Shot bird of prey lands in St Edward’s College school grounds – BLM
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A shot bird of prey landed in the school grounds of St Edward’s College on Thursday evening.
BirdLife Malta, in a statement today, pointed out that a similar incident in the same school in April 2015 led to the premature closure of the hunting season by the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
BirdLife Malta President Darryl Grima and CEO Mark Sultana called on the Prime Minister to “display the courage shown in 2015 and take immediate action in the face of the sharp increase in illegalities witnessed this start of season.”
Students which were attending a live-in at St Edward’s College in Vittoriosa on Thursday evening, were shocked when they found an injured bird on the school grounds.
BLM said that it later resulted that the bird was a Honey Buzzard – a protected bird of prey which was confirmed shot by the vet.
The two Year 11 (Form 5) students Sebastian Darmanin Kissaun and Neal Aquilina which found the shot bird, together with their teacher Samantha Abela, recounted their story at a press conference earlier this afternoon.
The students and their teacher recalled how incidentally, “it was the same class which two years ago witnessed the shot bird of prey crashing down into the grounds of their school.”
BirdLife Malta stated that yesterday’s Honey Buzzard recovered from the St Edward’s was not the only shot bird recovered in the last 24 hours.
“Among the three shot birds retrieved between yesterday and today, is another Greater Flamingo which was recovered by police from the side of a road in Hal Farrug early this morning. The other casualty is a Hobby retrieved from Hal Millieri, limits of Zurrieq also by the police,” the NGO said.
It added that sadly all three birds had to be put down due to the serious injuries they sustained.
“With these last three shot birds, the total of known illegally shot protected birds this autumn hunting season has now risen to 26,” said BLM.
The NGO went on to say that, comparing like with like, “this is five times the amount received during the same period (1st September-6th October) during 2016 when a total of five birds were retrieved.”
“This is the second shot bird which landed in a school this season after the shot Grey Heron which was recovered from De La Salle College, also in the Cottonera area, on the 8th September,” BLM added..
BirdLife Malta is also repeating its call for the setting up of a Wildlife Crime Unit within the Malta Police Force to ensure the adequate enforcement needed.
The NGO said that although its Raptor Camp has now ended, “BirdLife Malta’s local staff will continue – albeit with limited resources – to monitor illegal hunting in the countryside till the end of the hunting season on 31st January next year.”
“We once again call on the public to assist us by reporting to us and to the police any illegalities they may encounter,” they said.