A flamingo was recovered by a fisherman from the sea off the coast of Gozo in the third illegal hunting casualty recorded since the start of the autumn hunting season on 1 September.
The fisherman saw the injured flamingo floating while he was out at sea and called Birdlife Malta, which said it was an adult flamingo with serious injuries and covered in blood.
Illegal hunting of flamingos “is not a new phenomenon in Malta”, Nick Barbara said in a video posted on Facebook (reproduced below), referring to the incident at Qawra Point a year ago.
“This is a protected bird. Hunting flamingos is completely illegal, and the act carries huge fines. But it seems hunters in Malta insist on targeting these birds,” Barbara added.
He blamed the government’s “enabling” of illegal hunting through policy changes. The flamingo is highly sought after for hunters’ collections of stuffed birds.
Birdlife Malta said it had also received a Black-crowned Night-heron that was recovered by police in Dingli and a Eurasian Collared-dove found by a member of the public in Attard.
The conservation organisation said the two illegal hunting casualties were recovered in less than 24 hours on the first day of the season.
“All three birds were taken to the Malta government vet who confirmed they were illegally shot,” Birdlife said.
The autumn hunting season runs for five months until the end of January 2023.