Over 1,400 spot checks carried out on individual hunters

Total of 44 suspected offences since opening of spring hunting season.

A complement of 69 officers, comprising regular Administrative Law Enforcement units supported by additional police and Armed Forces of Malta personnel, continued their deployment in the field around Malta and Gozo between 5am and 3pm, the animal rights ministry said in its fourth updated on spring hunting monitoring and enforcement.

Field surveillance during early morning hours was also temporarily boosted with an additional daily complement that ranged from a minimum of 11 officers up to 24 officers.

Field deployment of 39 officers was maintained between 1pm and 9:30pm, while four officers were deployed on night patrols until 5am to monitor significant roosts of protected birds.

Wild Birds Regulation Unit officials continued to provide assistance in surveillance and investigations on a 24-hour basis.

Since the start of the season until Thursday, 24 April, officers carried out 1,469 spot-checks on individual hunters, around 15% of all licensed hunters, to verify compliance with special spring hunting license conditions.

These spot checks were performed in addition to over 1,000 routine field patrols and inspections. Up until 24 April, 40 suspected offenders were apprehended. These persons are being charged with a total of 44 suspected offences that have been disclosed until 24 April, of which 36 offences were of a minor nature. These include hunting within prohibited areas, possession of sn overloaded shotgun, failure to be in possession of a special license and leaving a firearm unattended.

Furthermore, there are eight violations which are considered to be more serious as these involve suspected targeting of protected birds, or hunting within a bird sanctuary. These include the illegal trapping and shooting of protected birds, hunting ina  bird sanctuary and the use of illegally manufactured unregistered shotgun fitted with a silencer. In total, there were eight such cases.

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