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[WATCH] Four protected birds found injured, two confirmed shot

13 casualties have resulted since the opening of what Birdlife is calling the "most shocking and disgusting" hunting season yet

Denise Grech
24 September 2017, 11:59am
Last updated on 25 September 2017, 4:47pm
Birdlife Malta has pointed out poor law enforcement in hunting sites, after its Raptor camps informed the NGO that only three units are patrolling the country
Birdlife Malta has pointed out poor law enforcement in hunting sites, after its Raptor camps informed the NGO that only three units are patrolling the country
CEO Mark Sultana expressed his disappointment at the lack of enforcement of the zero tolerance policy adopted by the Government
Another four injured protected birds have been found injured, Birdlife Malta reports.

The two Marsh Harriers and two Grey Herons have been taken to the veterinarian this afternoon, after the two grey herrings were confirmed, bringing the total number of casualties this hunting season to 13.

"This means that since the opening of hunting season on 1 September, approximately one bird has been found shot every two days," CEO Mark Sultana said.

One of the Grey Herons was recovered from the Nwadar nature park, after the then environment minister Leo Brincat announced that hunting will be allowed in the National Park. The Marsh Harriers were recovered from Chadwick Lakes and Qormi respectively, leading Birdlife CEO Mark Sultana to speculate that the illegal hunting is widespread.

While condemning the Hunting and Conservation Federation (FKNK) for failing to condemn these incidents, Birdlife Malta thanked the Armed Forces of Malta who offered one of their patrol boats to save a Marsh Harrier in Chadwick Lakes.

"This situation is disgusting," CEO Mark Sultana said. "It is clear that the state's promise that there will be a zero tolerance policy towards illegal hunting was just a gimmick."

Raptor camps, groups of volunteers monitoring illegal hunting of wild birds, reported that the number of policemen patrolling hunting sites has severely decreased from the last hunting season.

Three police units, or around 10 policemen, have been seen on sites.

"How can these three units possible monitor 10,000 hunters during this season?" Sultana asked.

Two flamingos were retrieved by Birdlife Malta yesterday.

The first flamingo had to be put down because of injuries sustained in its right wing

The second flamingo is being kept under observation despite the evident gunshot injuries. The flamingo is the eleventh known shot protected birth this autumn hunting season.

Earlier yesterday morning, a juvenile greater flamingo was found shot by one of Birdlife's Raptor Camp teams, who found the injured bird lying by the side of the street.

"The government seems to be adopting a nonchalant attitude to these events," Birdlife Malta CEO Mark Sultana has said. "We ask the general public to show their concern and ask them to support us today more than ever."

Birdlife Malta is calling for a Wildlife Crime Unit within the Police force in light of the recent incidents.

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