Salina Nature Reserve has been robbed from one of its most popular and beloved birds after government x-rays revealed that it had been shot being forced to stop on the coast road where it eventually got run over.
Gandalf the Grey Heron was flying over the nature reserve on April 22nd when he became the target of gunshots which forced him to land on a bicycle lane on the coast road before he could make it back to the reserve.
Although a passerby informed BirdLife Malta about Gandalf, the protected juvenile grey heron was unfortunately run over before anyone could reach him, resulting in his death.
“On examining the carcass with X-rays, the MaltaGov vet confirmed that it had been shot,” said Salina Nature Reserve in a Facebook post.
Although herons are a protected species, Gandalf had previously been targeted by hunters at the end of March when it returned from a flight with missing feathers in both wings, ‘a clear sign of being targeted and shot by an illegal hunter,’ the reserve said.
“This clearly indicates that some individuals don’t care at all about the laws and regulations of our country and have no respect for wildlife seeking refuge at a reserve.”
“Sadly, this egoistic and illegal hunting act has robbed the visitors of Salina from one of its regular charismatic birds that had made our reserve its home for six whole months! We are all the poorer for this illegal hunting act.”
Prime Minister Robert Abela decided to open this year’s spring hunting despite an outcry from the general republic, NGOs and even Malta’s police union, which considered the decision unwise given the impending coronavirus crisis and the lack of policing because of it.
Gandalf the Grey Heron is yet another protected bird in Malta that has fallen victim to illegal hunting.