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Malta’s Turtle Dove Hunting Season Ends Abruptly As 500 Bird Quota Limit Reached Weeks Ahead Of Time

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Hunters will no longer be allowed to catch turtle doves this autumn after the national quota of 500 birds was reached 19 days before expected.

Hunting lobby FKNK said the Wild Birds Regulation Unit informed licensed hunters via SMS yesterday that the turtle dove quota had been reached.

This fact, FKNK argues, shows that turtle doves in the wild are on the increase, despite the European Commission’s claims to the contrary.

“This is clearer from the fact that in the September 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons, the national bag of turtle doves in Malta never exceeded 300 birds,” they said. “Therefore, and among other valid reasons, that is why the law established the national bag quota of 500, a quota regarding which the FKNK has publicly expressed reservations.”

“The misfortune in all this is that the research programs about turtle doves launched by FKNK for September 2021 will also cease.  In fact, research into whether the bird bagged is a juvenile or an adult will also have to stop today, while the wing research, which the FKNK launched just a couple of days ago via the MyHunt mobile App in collaboration with Hunter & Co., ceases abruptly.”

BirdLife Malta, on their part, urged people who spot hunters hunting turtle doves throughout the remainder of the autumn hunting season to report them to the police.

“We remind everyone that the autumn hunting season still runs until the end of January 2022 but shooting of Turtle-dove is now prohibited,” they said. 

“So anyone seen hunting Turtle-doves from now on would be breaking the law. We reiterate our call on the general public to continue monitoring illegalities and report any incidents or suspected illegality to BirdLife Malta and police.”

Cover photo: FKNK 

Do you think the 500-bird quota should be increased? 

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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