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Maltese hunters start annual autumn massacre - Where are the police?

04/09/2012 13:19:00

Juvenile Bee-eater, recovered from Bingemma on the first day of the hunting season, was suffering from an open fracture to its left wing and had been blinded in one eye. Photograph- BirdLife Malta

Illegal hunters take advantage of lax enforcement on first days of hunting season

September 2012. BirdLife Malta today announced that there were no ALE units patrolling the countryside on the opening weekend of Malta's autumn hunting season, and the organization has already started receiving shot protected birds.

BirdLife Malta received an adult Night Heron and a juvenile Bee-eater, both protected species, on Saturday, the first day of the autumn hunting season. A veterinary surgeon confirmed that both protected birds had sustained gunshot wounds.

This morning BirdLife Malta received the third injured protected bird since the start of the season, a juvenile Marsh Harrier, with visible gunshot injuries. The bird has been taken to vet and the authorities have been informed.

Despite a government statement last week that police would "monitor closely the observance of hunting regulations and conditions", Administrative Law Enforcement officers were assigned to other duties.

Since the migration started in August, BirdLife Malta has reported 18 active illegal trapping sites to police, targeting protected species from Wood Sandpipers to Grey Herons. Half of these illegal trapping sites had already been reported to the police last year.

The ALE were unavailable to respond to any of the incidents of illegal trapping reported by BirdLife Malta teams, referring all calls to the Local or District police. The lack of specifically trained officers lead to police failing to locate live decoy birds, neglecting to remove nets or to confiscate illegal tape lures which play calls to attract birds.

When BirdLife Malta's surveillance teams revisited the areas only a few days later the sites were again actively trapping and targeting protected birds.

"This demonstrates, yet again, the falsity of claims that hunting and trapping law is strictly enforced by the Maltese authorities", said Mr Barbara, adding that BirdLife Malta has long been calling for a dedicated wildlife crime unit to deal with illegal hunting and trapping both during and outside hunting seasons.

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

Stop the killing

I have holidayed in Malta for a number of years and have been aware of the appalling so called custom of shooting passage migrant birds.
As a birder I have visited the falconry center on the island who run a breeding program and on speaking to these people they have stated that the government are aware of this awfull practice and have put measures in place to control this. I really dont think that what ever measures they have taken just are not working or it is not being policed correctly.
Although I love holidaying on the island it is time for harsher measures and if that means boycoting Malta, so be it.
Remember that the tourist trade means an awfull lot to these people and if their government are made aware of this threat of boycot maybe they will do more to help protect these important species

Posted by: Mick Blackmore | 10 Sep 2012 18:05:30

maltese "image"

i can remember writing to this miserable embassy many years ago. but they apparently dont give a hoot. unless people can be persuaded to boycott this island, this slaughter will continue. clearly they dont respect the people who saved thier butts during the war.

Posted by: dee donworth | 09 Sep 2012 17:19:57

Save the Birds

The people who net and slaughter these birds as they migrate are the lowest of the low and are surely damaging Malta's tourism ~ who wants to visit a place that counts such evil low intelligent morans as it's citizens. Boycott Malta until it gets rid of these scum bags

Posted by: Moya Welding | 08 Sep 2012 19:39:55

Boycott Malta!

Write to the Malta Embassy in London and tell them like me, you are going to boycott Malta until they stop this slaughter!!!

Maltese Embassy
Consulate Section
Malta House
36 - 38 Piccadilly
London W1V 0PQ

Posted by: Martyn Lewis | 08 Sep 2012 12:47:14


Malta could win a George Cross for their bravery during the war, but now they cannot even protect birds in conformity with European law.
I refuse to go to Malta until they bring this slaughter under control. I should love to visit such a historic island, but I will not condone this slaughter, and encourage others not to do so either. Why does the EU not take better control of the matter and tell the Maltese government that this must be stopped?

Posted by: Andrea Polden | 07 Sep 2012 23:02:29

Enough already...

Don't you think it's time to lay it on the line to the Maltese Government, and make it clear what the score is?

If you want to remain on the main holiday destination list for Europe's tourist trade - make a decision : either do your job and ensure the bird slaughterers are brought under control and severely retricted ; or face a wholesale across-the-board tourist boycott.

How embarrassing it must be to have your entire country characterised around the world by a bunch of miserable cowards who get their kicks blasting (unarmed) birds out of the skies !

Posted by: Dominic Belfield | 07 Sep 2012 16:05:12

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