Number of protected birds illegally shot triples since 2014 – BirdLife

Upward trend of illegal bird killings continues in 2021


In a continuation of an upward trend, the illegal killing of protected birds remained rampant in 2021, environmental NGO BirdLife Malta revealed on Friday.

In 2021, BirdLife diagnosed 181 protected birds as illegally shot, consequently confirming that the number has tripled in the past four years, when compared to the previous four.

76% of the 794 illegally shot protected birds since 2014, were found in the last four years. While 190 birds were diagnosed as illegally shot between 2014 and 2017, 604 were diagnosed between 2018 and 2021.

The organisation reiterated their stance that the number of illegal bird killings in 2021 proves that Prime Minister Robert Abela, his Cabinet and authorities are “not taking the problem of illegal hunting and trapping seriously”, despite the European Commission listing the issue as a concern and initiating legal action against Malta.

“This amount is only a small fraction of what really happens in Malta and Gozo since it only represents the injured or dead birds found by the general public,” BirdLife added. From its analysis, the organisation “fairly concluded” that thousands of other protected birds such as birds of prey, flamingos and herons were illegally shot down and collected – mainly for taxidermy purposes.

“The figures do not include the illegally trapped finches under the scam ‘scientific’ derogation created by the Maltese Government,” said BirdLife, labelling the derogation as a “smokescreen derogation”.

“The abuse of such a derogation is so rampant that in just a few months BirdLife Malta received 926 protected finches for rehabilitation,” it said, adding that a further 120 protected birds were also illegally trapped with the same methods.

In its statement, BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana pointed to lack of discipline by hunters, a government that is “bending over backwards and side ways to give in to the hunting lobby’s demands for weaker laws”, weaker enforcement and derogations from the European Birds Directive as the reasons why illegal killing is on the rise.

“We demand both parties to stop being spineless towards those who break the law and start taking illegal killing and trapping seriously,” he said.

The organisation will be presenting the figures and photographic and video evidence to the Commission.


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Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
2 years ago

It seems the F.K.N.K, is not up to scratch in ‘conserving’ as it should, and boasts, the little – or not so little – feathered creatures who regularly visit our islands.

Kaccaturi YES, certainly – but Konservaturi definitely NO.

Last edited 2 years ago by Joseph Tabone Adami

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