Another bird massacre in Malta
A group of birdwatchers from BirdLife Malta (BirdLife in Malta) has just uncovered a grisly scene of over 130 bird carcasses of protected species, such as Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus and herons, found concealed under rocks spread over one of the biggest woods in the island frequented by scores of Maltese hunters.
The remains of many birds, including 34 Marsh Harriers, 17 European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus, 19 Falcon species including Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus and Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo, 29 herons and 33 skeletons of raptors (as yet unidentified), were found over the weekend concealed among stones and rubbish in Mizieb, in the north of the main island. Volunteers escorted by Maltese police continue to search the area.
BirdLife International asks the Maltese Government to properly investigate and take the necessary measures to stop any acts of illegal hunting. This discovery is one of the largest single hauls of dead protected birds yet recovered in Malta.
The discovery of these corpses is further proof of the scale of illegal hunting in Malta —Konstantin Kreiser, EU Policy Manager at BirdLife European Division
BirdLife Malta is highly concerned about the relative lack of government and police action on this outrageous discovery. Joseph Mangion, President of BirdLife Malta, commented: "We demand from the government that they stop claiming that illegal hunting is under control and instead start treating this international conservation problem as a political priority”.
Konstantin Kreiser, EU Policy Manager at BirdLife European Division, said: "The discovery of these corpses is further proof of the scale of illegal hunting in Malta, which is an international scandal. The Maltese government must recognise that these acts bring shame on Malta as well as posing a direct threat to many of Europe’s protected bird species. The illegal hunting of protected birds can have no place in a modern Europe".
The recovery of these dead birds was a joint operation between BirdLife Malta and the Campaign Against Bird Slaughter (CABS): both organisations have organised separate bird protection and migration observation camps in Malta, over this autumn. Autumn is a key bird migration period in Malta as many birds fly over the island from Europe en route to their African wintering grounds. Volunteers from both organisations have been reporting protected birds being shot at in several areas in the island including the Mizieb woodland over the last days.
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Credits: BirdLife Malta, BirdLife European Division