Pallid harrier shot on Malta20/09/2012 17:44:05 Injured pallid harrier sent to Sicily for rehabilitation
September 201. A Pallid Harrier, one of Europe's rarest birds, has been sent to a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Sicily after it was shot in Gozo on the 8th September. The Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) is a rare visitor to Malta and is considered to be one of the most threatened birds of prey in Europe.
The shooting of the juvenile Pallid Harrier was witnessed by a member of the public in Gozo who gave the injured bird to BirdLife. A veterinary surgeon examined the protected bird and diagnosed a fracture to its right wing.
"Luckily, the injury was not fatal and with proper treatment this bird is expected to make a full recovery. Malta to date does not have the rehabilitation facilities to care for wild birds with these kinds of injuries," said Nicholas Barbara, BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager.
Recover at hospital in Sicily
The Pallid Harrier was sent to the Centro Recupero Fauna Selvatica, a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Sicily, which has successfully rehabilitated various injured birds that were sent over by BirdLife Malta in the past.
Last year, BirdLife sent another wounded Pallid Harrier to a centre in Berlin. The bird, which had been shot during the spring hunting season of 2011, had suffered a fracture to its left wing, but was unable to recover flight and had to be euthanized.
Since the opening of the 2012 hunting season two and a half weeks ago, BirdLife has received 10 birds of protected species that had been shot. Most of them had fatal injuries and had to be euthanized by a vet.
"The number of shot birds received by BirdLife Malta is just a small indicator of the vast scale of illegal hunting going on in Malta. Yet Malta has no wildlife crime unit or a proper rehab centre for injured animals. We expect the government to consider Malta's wildlife as one of its assets and therefore one of the country's priorities in the next budget," concluded Mr Barbara.
BirdLife Malta encourages members of the public to report illegal hunting incidents to the ALE. Hunting after 3pm is illegal between 15th and 30th September, a ban enacted to protect migrating birds of prey. Instructions on how to file a report can be found at www.birdlifemalta.org