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Illegal hunters take advantage of lax enforcement - BirdLife
BirdLife says hunters took advantage of lax enforcement and a number of birds were shot illegally.
4 September 2012, 12:00am
In a statement issued today, Birdlife said it received an adult Night Heron and a juvenile Bee-eater, both protected species, on Saturday, the first day of the autumn hunting season.
The NGO explained that a veterinary surgeon confirmed that both protected birds had sustained gunshot wounds.
Furthermore, the organisation also received the third injured protected bird since the start of the season, a juvenile Marsh Harrier, with visible gunshot injuries.
BirdLife noted that the bird had been taken to a veterinary and the authorities were informed.
It pointed out that despite a government statement last week that police would 'monitor closely the observance of hunting regulations and conditions', Administrative Law Enforcement officers were assigned to other duties.
"Since the migration started in August, Birdlife Malta has reported 18 active illegal trapping sites to police, targeting protected species from Wood Sandpipers to Grey Herons. Half of these illegal trapping sites had already been reported to the police last year," the organisation said.
BirdLife added that the ALE were unavailable to respond to any of the incidents of illegal trapping reported by BirdLife teams, referring all calls to the Local or District police.
"The lack of specifically trained officers lead to police failing to locate live decoy birds, neglecting to remove nets or to confiscate illegal tape lures which play calls to attract birds," Birdlife said.
When BirdLife's surveillance teams revisited the areas only a few days later the sites were again actively trapping and targeting protected birds, the NGO said.
BirdLife's coordinator Nicholas Sultana said "This demonstrates, yet again, the falsity of claims that hunting and trapping law is strictly enforced by the Maltese authorities," adding that BirdLife Malta had long been calling for a dedicated wildlife crime unit to deal with illegal hunting and trapping both during and outside hunting seasons.