Spring hunting season “one of the worst in past years” – BirdLife
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This year’s spring hunting season closed today at noon BirdLife Malta in a statement said, that 17 illegally shot protected birds have been recovered by the public, police and BirdLife Malta – two more than last year’s season, half of them being protected Turtle Doves.
“This makes this year’s season one of the worst in past years and definitely worse than last year’s,” stated BirdLife, “and if the Government trusted the hunters, they have clearly abused of it during this season.”
The NGO went on to say that, “the 17 confirmed shot birds by the veterinary are just the tip of the iceberg and should put to shame all those that defended the season and the change in dates, in the first place.”
It argued that, “shifting the season – against all scientific data and against Environment and Resources Authority’s advice – was indeed a smokescreen for hunters to target this vulnerable species.”
BirdLife Malta stated that its offices “were inundated with calls from the public over the last 3 days reporting what many described as a massacre taking place on protected Turtle Doves across Gozo and Malta.
BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana stated that, “it is clear that this year there were thousands of this species shot over our islands, in particular during the past days when shooting at this protected bird spiralled out of control.”
He added, “we can only but hope that the Government understands that it cannot continue accepting the wrong advice on the issue of spring hunting, while we promise to push for the European Commission to investigate whether this decision to allow hunting during the Turtle Dove’s peak migration goes against the spirit of the European Birds Directive and any form of derogation from it.”