Malta’s hunting policies ‘wasting’ European conservation efforts – BirdLife

Malta’s hunting policies are “wasting” Europe’s “intense conservation efforts” as more protected birds of prey were illegally shot down on Thursday afternoon according to BirdLife Malta.

A protected Osprey (Arpa) was shot down over Buskett in what BirdLife CEO Mark Sultana has called “another episode in the ongoing massacre of highly-protected birds this autumn” in a press release on Thursday.

In a video message accompanying the press release, Sultana claimed the Maltese government is “intentionally weakening hunting legislation to appease hunting lobbyists, winning their vote”.

Sultana said, “It is heartbreaking to see our country, which could be a haven for migratory birds, is instead their cemetery”.

Regarding Thursday’s shot osprey, the press release stated: “The diagnosis was clear. Lead pellets had shattered both legs beyond any chance of recovery.”

BirdLife Malta said the bird was born in Latvia some months ago and was ringed last July. It was on its first migratory trip toward Africa in preparation for winter.

“Yet its journey was cut short as a direct result of the state of impunity that hunting enjoys. Years back, a 3pm curfew protected these birds from being hunted down as they arrived in Malta to rest for the night. Yet currently, most of the hunting witnessed in the afternoon is simply on such protected species.”

In 2013, the 3pm curfew on Autumn hunting was “limited”, expanding hunting hours until 7pm. In a statement at the time, the government had said the curfew “was considered to have deprived law-abiding hunters of hunting opportunities in the afternoon, while at the same time recognising the need to strengthen enforcement and safeguard the passage of protected birds of prey”.

The shot down osprey was the second recorded by BirdLife this autumn season, with another protected osprey shot down over the Għadira Nature Reserve on Monday. Hunting in the vicinity of nature reserves is similarly prohibited.

The two ospreys join a host of other birds shot down illegally by hunters since the season’s opening on 1 September. These included the indiscriminate shooting of European Bee Eaters, Nightjars, Herring Gulls, Eurasian Collared Doves, Honey Buzzards, Glossy Ibises, Hobbies, Marsh Harriers, a Greater Flamingo and a European Roller.

BirdLife Malta and the police also received several shot birds, including a Little Egret, Night Heron, Eleonora’s Falcons, Common Kestrel, Honey Buzzard, Hobby, Yellow-legged Gull and Hoopoe.

Earlier this month, The Shift reported how the number of police officers deployed to enforce hunting regulations during this year’s autumn hunting season has been reduced as the Malta police force will not include additional officers to boost its Environment Protection Unit.

BirdLife Malta had described the move as a “last straw” for migratory birds, claiming the EPU “currently numbers only 15 officers that operate on a shift basis.”

This autumn’s hunting season is open from two hours before sunrise to 7pm between 15 September and 7 October, to two hours after sunset for the rest of the five-month season that stretches until the end of January.

Hunting on turtle dove was only permissible in September, with the 500-bird bag limit reached on 20 September, closing the hunting season for that species.

                           

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A. Fan
A. Fan
4 months ago

Severe lack of empathy is apparently one key sign of psychopathic tendencies in humans, and it is often manifested in the killing of defenseless creatures for fun. It also turns out that birds of a feather actually do like to flock together in these circles. Simply repeating academic research findings here.

Aggie
Aggie
4 months ago

Just ban it completely, if you want a list of hides, ask those who enjoy seeing birds flying, not the pathetic men who find killing an innocent bird in flight, fun. Small brains, small appendages and lack of a conscience.

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