A young flamingo was shot down by hunters earlier today as it flew over a private field in Munxar.
The flamingo is a protected species in Malta and shooting it is a criminal offense but this hasn’t stopped people from shooting them in the past and appears to still be the case today.
BirdLife Malta president Mark Sultana reported the incident over Facebook live where, minutes before, he witnessed three flamingos being shot at resulting in one of the young, protected species to fall from the sky.
“It’s not usual that I do a live feed but people in the private land behind me just shot at three flamingos and one of them was hit and fell,” Sultana said.
There have been several sightings of flamingos over the past few days as they migrate from one lagoon to another in the Mediterranean now that breeding season is over. Earlier today, a juvenile Greater Flamingo was spotted on Għadira Bay either because it was distressed, tired from migration or injured. A second one was also rescued from Gozo this afternoon and another one – which was also stranded – was spotted along the coast of Salina.
“It is disgusting to see people in 2019 shoot protected birds like the flamingo for fun, with the excuse of having shotguns to shoot at rabbits,” Mr. Sultana said.
Sultana goes on to describe how he had been waiting for the police to arrive, noting that there were just two Administrative Law Enforcement patrol vehicles available on the day.
“I know it’s not all hunters that shoot protected species but it’s disgusting that we keep hiding from the law meaning that people who want to shoot at protected animals can do freely and without consequence.”
BirdLife has mades several appeals on their Facebook to reach out if you spot a flamingo in distress but unfortunately, incidents like this still happen, even if it is illegal.
Once again, flamingos are a protected species and shooting them is a crime. If you spot a flamingo in distress please reach out to BirdLife on 2134 7646 (or on 7925 5697 after office hours) immediately.