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‘Brave’ Maltese hunters slaughtering Bee-eaters and other protected birds

20/09/2011 06:45:39

Utterly pointless wanton killing in Malta - Shooting protected birds 'for the hell of it'

CABS discovers carcasses of protected migrant birds

September 2011. Members of the German-based Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) have discovered the corpses of numerous dead migrant birds shot by poachers on the Dwejra Lines, an old fortification in Malta.

CABS stated that the find consisted of 7 freshly-shot Bee-eaters, two Swifts, a Sardinian Warbler and the remains of two Marsh Harriers. All four species are strictly protected on Malta. In addition the corpses of several racing pigeons were found, one of them wearing the ring of a local racing pigeon club.

The birds were at the bottom of defensive ditch, some 5 metres deep, constructed by the British in the 19th Century. In this area hunters had been observed on several occasions in the past few days shooting at protected species. Some of these incidents were also filmed by a CABS patrol. The video material and the dead birds were handed over to the Malta environmental police unit ALE. Criminal proceedings are being initiated. "

According to CABS, some 200 metres of the densely overgrown and often almost impenetrable ditch was searched. "We believe that many more dead birds can be found in the ditch" says CABS press officer Axel Hirschfeld. "A search of the rest of the fortifications will only be possible with the help of professional climbing equipment".

6 teams
The Committee Against Bird Slaughter has been operating on Malta since 9 September in the framework of their autumn bird protection camp - Operation Safe Voyage. CABS civil liaison officer David Conlin comments: "We deploy six teams to the countryside daily, working closely with the ALE as usual".

Illegal decoys and guns
Although autumn bird migration is still far from its peak, the volunteer conservationists have already recorded numerous violations of Maltese Hunting Law and the European bird protection guidelines. These include the shooting at or killing of down of birds of prey, Swallows, Swifts, Bee-Eaters and other small song birds. Other offences registered are the use of electronic decoy devices and weapons capable of firing more than three shots in succession. Illegal hunting has also been observed taking place after 23:00 hrs and on Sunday afternoon.

Protected birds killed by hunters in Malta - Why?


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