Spring hunting season resulted in “massacre” of protected Turtle Doves
|Email item||Print item||
BirdLife Malta has said in a statement, that as it had anticipated, “the spring hunting season – which was supposedly open only for Quail – resulted in a massacre of protected Turtle Doves and it practically was an open hunting season on this red-listed species.”
It explained that “with the season’s casualties, the total of known illegally shot protected birds recovered so far this year is already at record levels (41), surpassing last year’s figures for the same period.”
BirdLife Malta said that it held the usual Spring Watch camp during the season to monitor illegalities. It added that, “this year’s camp covered two of the three weeks of the season, during which a total of 28 volunteers in four teams covered 58 different hunting hotspots across Gozo and Malta, with a total of 92 illegal hunting incidents recorded over this period.”
BirdLife argued that, “the deliberate choice of dates by the government to coincide with peak Turtle Dove migration was augmented by the increase in hunting licences, and the season was characterised by the lowest ever enforcement levels in past years.”
“Clear evidence of the wrong choice of dates for this year’s smokescreen hunting season was the fact that half of the illegal hunting casualties recovered during the season were protected Turtle Doves,” stated BirdLife.
“We have documented the illegalities observed in a video summary which we are releasing today. All the findings and results from this year’s spring hunting season will now be reported to the European Commission,” BirdLife Malta concluded.
Photograph: By BirdLife Malta – Turtle Dove from Santa Lucija, Gozo. Found on 27th April 2019