Budget: No commitment seen in terms of bird protection – BLM
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“Despite an environmentally-positive budget, no commitment was seen in terms of bird protection,” said BirdLife Malta in reaction to the 2018 budget.
It added that although the Government is introducing positive measures which benefit certain aspects of the environment, “it still has to prove itself where the protection of biodiversity is concerned, specifically bird protection.”
“We commend the Government’s plan to set up the ‘Ambjent Malta’ agency to protect Natura 2000 sites. BirdLife Malta looks ahead with enthusiasm to actively participate in the development of this new agency,” it said.
BLM went on to say that measures such as those related to waste, the use of electric cars or gas-powered vehicles and the initiative to plant more trees in Malta, are all positive.
The NGO stated that, it cannot however “ignore the fact that whilst in other environmental aspects this Government has shown the courage to take decisions, with regard to biodiversity protection – especially the protection of birds – it still has to prove that it can be taken seriously and make its position clear, taking a step forward from its current stance which seems to be that it does not care at all.”
BLM remarked that, “we are witnessing this in very clear terms during this year’s autumn hunting season, with the Prime Minister seemingly reluctant to take steps on this matter despite the growing number of illegal hunting casualties that we have already seen.”
“In fact, in the past days another six injured protected birds were retrieved and all of them were confirmed illegally shot by a vet,” stated the NGO.
BLM said that, “the birds were a Hoopoe from Mizieb, two Common Kestrels and a Honey Buzzard that were recovered by the police, a Yellow-legged Gull collected from the Freeport in Birzebbuga, and even a Short-eared Owl, that was found once again in the vicinity of St Edward’s College in Vittoriosa.”
BirdLife said that, “with these six new birds, four of which were retrieved in just one day last Sunday, the total of known illegally shot protected birds recovered up to now this season has now risen to 32. This is the worst season in the past years.”
The NGO concluded by saying that, “the fact that the Government remains silent and is taking no action whatsoever goes to show that where illegal hunting is concerned, this Government does not care at all.”
Photo by BirdLife Malta: Short-eared Owl recovered on Sunday