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Maltese hunters jailed for killing white storks

07/07/2011 10:06:34

White stork shot by hunters in Malta - Photo credit Birdlife Malta.

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Gavin Bennett joined the raptor camp in Malta and witnessed many protected birds being killed. Read his account of his time on the Malta raptor camp

Prison for illegal stork hunters

July 2011, Malta. The law courts in Malta have sentenced a hunter to two years imprisonment and a €9,000 fine, and another to one year imprisonment and a €5000 fine, for targeting protected White Storks on the 18th May this year. All hunting licenses were permanently revoked for both individuals.

Both hunters were found guilty of contravening several sections of national hunting law including; hunting out of season, hunting protected birds, the use of illegal cartridges with large pellets and the use of an illegal irregular shotgun.

Previous convictions
In sentencing them the court also took into consideration the fact that in spite of both accused having several previous hunting convictions they persisted in hunting illegally.

One of the hunters was apprehended by two ALE (Maltese wildlife police) officers in Zurrieq with a dead stork and a loaded shotgun after the officers heard shots taken at a roosting flock of White storks and saw two of the birds being shot down. Another two hunters managed to escape the ALE. Two dead storks and a third injured and dying stork were recovered from the area.

The other hunter was seen with his shotgun in Madliena when several shots were fired at a large flock of White Storks and an eye witness gave his number plate to the police. He was later apprehended by the police, when he admitted chasing the storks seeking an opportunity to shoot at them, but denied shooting at them. A dead stork was recovered from Madliena the day after the incidents.

BirdLife Malta congratulates the ALE on their successful action in these incidents and today's prosecution.

"Enforcement in the field needs to be supported by effective court sentences like these if illegal hunting is to be controlled. BirdLife Malta is hopeful that future court sentences will increasingly serve as real deterrents to illegal hunting." concluded Mr Joseph Mangion, BirdLife Malta President.

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