A protected bird was shot down near Mtarfa earlier today on its way to its European breeding grounds, BirdLife Malta said as they urged for better enforcement against illegal hunting.
The Black Kite was discovered by a member of the public at around 6:50am. Graphic photos and video footage show the bird laying in a ditch, covered in blood.
The protected species was picked up by police alive and handed over to the government veterinarian.
“Once again this is proof of the rampant illegal hunting taking place across our islands which unfortunately is not an exception but has become the norm. This is a symptom of pampered hunters and trappers that in the past years have seen all they demanded come true,” said BirdLife CEO Mark Sultana.
“Prime Minister Robert Abela has been bending over backward in more ways than one to appease the hunting lobby, including with trapping and hunting derogations that will land Malta at the European Court of Justice once again,” he said.
Last year, a total of 210 protected birds were shot in Malta.
Following today’s incident, BirdLife has called for the public to help put pressure on authorities to stop these incidents from occurring in the future.
“We call on the general public to support us by becoming BirdLife Malta members and we also request the European Union to take all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of birds migrating over Malta this spring while heading north to their breeding grounds in Europe,” Sultana ended.
The Federazzjoni Kaccaturi Nassaba Konservazzjonisti, Malta’s biggest hunting lobby, has responded to the recent illegalities by issuing a strong message to their members to follow the laws, especially during the offseason.
“FKNK members are obliged to report any incident that they may be aware of immediately to the police without any shame,” it said. “If not done, we will end up losing what we have because of a few people.”
“The federation must also be informed so that it takes immediate action in accordance with its statute against any individual who may be convicted of any crime related to hunting and trapping,” it said.
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