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At least 12 eagles amongst birds killed by hunters in Malta

25/10/2013 16:41:41

Short-toed Eagle in Buskett on Malta

Death toll mounts as eagle massacre continues

October 2013. The confirmed body count of eagles shot down by hunters in Malta and Gozo reached 12 in the last few days, after two more of these rare and highly protected birds of prey were killed in front of watching BirdLife Malta volunteers.

Despite the presence of six BirdLife Malta teams and as many ALE (Maltese Environment Police) units in the Buskett area this morning at least one Booted eagle was shot down inside Buskett Gardens as it left its roost this morning. Several others, including Short-toed and Booted eagles, were shot at and many more were seen carrying injuries after last night's shooting spree by hunters in Dingli, Buskett, Girgenti, Siġġiewi and Zebbuġ.

This morning's second confirmed victim was a Short-toed eagle shot down in Gozo.

Massacre of eagles
The shootings follow what can only be described as a massacre the day before, after more than 50 eagles were seen by birdwatchers who were counting passing migrating birds in their regular watch-point above the wooded valley of Buskett. At least 10 eagles are known to have been shot down and many more targeted by dozens of hunters in locations around Buskett. Several as yet unconfirmed reports were also received from members of public who saw eagles and other large birds of prey being shot at and shot down.

Government turning a blind eye?
BirdLife Malta's Conservation Manager, Nicholas Barbara, described the events as a tragic wake-up call: "We haven't seen the wanton slaughter of this many protected birds by this many hunters in Malta for a long time. It is difficult to see this as anything other than a complete catastrophe and the descriptions of the scale of killing we have seen in the last 24 hours as an "isolated incident" and the scenario that only a few rogue bad apples are responsible for killing protected birds is not consistent with reality."

"We can only hope that these events serve as a serious wake-up call to the government that the current enforcement of hunting is not doing the job and things need to change for the situation to improve."

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

How to help prevent killing of protected species on Malta

I live on Malta and work in conservation.
Simply by avoiding holidays on Malta is not enough - this is not a deterrent as there are many more tourists that visit that are not interested in wildlife and do not care about poaching.

There are two practical ways to help:

1. Support BirdLife Malta or CABS
Either by becoming a member, donating or joining a BIRD PROTECTION CAMP which occur during the Spring and Autumn migrations. You will use scopes and video cameras to capture evidence of illegalities to be forwarded to the police for action. Anyone can join, even if not a bird expert.

2. Write a letter to your local member of European Parliament or the European Commission President to complain about the situation on Malta and ask for action to be taken.

Posted by: Fiona Burrows | 02 Nov 2013 10:52:49

massacre island Malta

Sadly this is just the tip of the iceberg!
A registered hunter who was caught for shooting one eagle was found with 72 stuffed protected species birds, one live eagle, and admitted to managing taxidermy!
Another hunter on Gozo was found with 80 assorted birds in his freezer.
And the pro hunting government has now applied to have a derogation to start up again trapping of some species of songbirds.
The new government promised the hunters federation a lot if the federation voted for them (vote buying) and has given a grant to the federation when it won the election.
Hunters have blocked off public access to land and common ground. There are 17000 hunters on Malta, an area of just 40 sq klms.
Every year protected species are gunned down and every year birdlife Malta and CABS are abused and threatened.
Anyone with an ounce of interest in Nature and the Migration is advised to Avoid Malta like the plague as a holiday destination. .

Posted by: Keith Perry | 29 Oct 2013 08:55:25


all the wringing of hands wont deter these killers. maybe 5 years inside and loss of thier homes may be a wake up call. ?there seems to be a lot of corruption between the police who appear to turn the other way. whats the point of them being there if they arent going to act ?

Posted by: dee donworth | 27 Oct 2013 16:15:36

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