A flamingo was shot on Friday while another disappeared when a flock of three flew out of the Għadira Nature Reserve, BirdLife Malta said.
The three flamingos left the nature reserve on Friday, only for two of them to return shortly after with one suffering a gunshot injury to its neck.
BirdLife Malta described 2018 as “the worst year for the illegal hunting of protected birds in the past six years”, adding that this latest incident just proves the sad reality that illegal hunting in Malta and Gozo is rampant.
A total of 11 birds have fallen victim to illegal hunting during the autumn hunting season and so far this year, 96 protected birds have been shot dead, an increase of 14 from 2017.
BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana said that it is disheartening to know that people who are being given the privilege to go out in the countryside with loaded shotguns for their enjoyment can yet be disrespectful towards society.
“We are aware that many hunters would deplore this incident and also the many illegal hunting going on, yet it is time for the hunting lobby to get rid of these people once and for all,” he said.
Calling on the government to set up a Wildlife Crime Unit to seriously focus solely on wildlife crime, Sultana said BirdLife Malta will continue working with all stakeholders including the Police, the government and the hunting lobby to reach this aim.