Following the shooting of several Greater Flamingos in Qawra last Wednesday, BirdLife Malta office has been flooded with additional injured and dead protected birds, and numerous reports of protected birds being shot in several locations over the last 48 hours. BirdLife Malta together with the RSPB (BirdLife UK) Investigations team and CABS (Committee against bird slaughter) also kept an overnight watch at Dingli on Wednesday night to safeguard the roosting Egyptian Vultures.
Over the last two days, BirdLife alone has recovered seven injured protected birds, including a Common Kestrel, a Night Heron, a Yellow-legged Gull, a Hoopoe, a Lesser Kestrel, a Marsh Harrier and a Honey Buzzard.
The conservation organisation also received confirmation of a shot Hobby in Gozo yesterday. The injured bird was recovered by a birdwatcher and MEPA has been informed.
BirdLife and CABS teams have also observed widespread illegal shooting over the last two days in different locations on the islands. The BirdLife office has also been receiving numerous reports from members of the public and birdwatchers.
“Illegal hunting is clearly completely out of control and the government’s claims of high levels of enforcement and zero-tolerance of illegal hunting bear no relation to reality,” Nicholas Barbara, BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager said.
Yesterday afternoon the second of the two juvenile flamingos shot in Qawra on Wednesday was recovered from Salina Bay. The injured bird was immediately taken to the government veterinary services for rehabilitation.
Egyptian Vultures survive against all odds
Two endangered juvenile Egyptian Vultures were also seen arriving in Malta on Wednesday by birdwatchers in Dwejra, where illegal hunters shot at these rare migratory visitors. The Vultures were luckily soaring high above the cliffs and weren’t hit.
BirdLife Malta with the cooperation of local birdwatchers followed the vultures which eventually roosted in a quarry in Dingli. BirdLife, together with RSPB investigations staff, CABS and local birdwatchers, set up an overnight watch to guard the birds, with teams positioned to cover the area around the quarry.
Having made it safely through the night, in the morning both vultures were able to continue their migration south, protected by the continued presence of the volunteers and MEPA and police officers.
“These were two of the lucky ones,” said Bob Elliot, head of the RSPB’s Investigations Unit. “Most migrating birds of prey do not receive this level of protection from dedicated conservationists, who can’t cover the whole of Malta and Gozo. The need for a dedicated wildlife crime unit in Malta could not be better highlighted than this case.”
BirdLife Malta encourages members of the public to report illegal hunting incidents to the ALE and inform BirdLife.
- Shot protected birds doubled this autumn – BirdLife
by MaltaMedia News -16 November 2012
- RSPB pushing for illegal bird hunting to stop
by MaltaMedia News -14 February 2010
- Poachers prey on migratory birds seeking shelter – Birdlife
by MaltaMedia News -11 September 2010
- Five protected birds shot down in two days
by MaltaMedia News -25 April 2011
- Birdlife say illegal hunting “Business as usual in Malta”
by MaltaMedia News -22 October 2009