Hunters’ boss takes on BBC’s Chris Packham: ‘Unethical fake and liar’

Hunters on the warpath: FKNK chief executive dubs Chris Packham ‘unwelcome English visitor’

“Chris Packham is only getting tweets from uninformed English nationals who he unfortunately seems to convince with his fibs” – Lino Farrugia
“Chris Packham is only getting tweets from uninformed English nationals who he unfortunately seems to convince with his fibs” – Lino Farrugia

The hunters’ federation’s chief executive officer Lino Farrugia has dubbed BBC presenter and naturalist Chris Pacham a persona non gratae, after the famed Springwatch presenter came to witness and record Malta’s hunting season for a second time.

Farrugia set much store by a recent statement from the German-based Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS), in which they praised what they said was a reduced incidence of hunting irregularities.

“BirdLife [are] in all probability fuming over CABS’s statement, since this may have ruined their present anti-hunting campaign, [and] have again resorted to the aid of the infamous and totally unwelcome English visitor to Malta, and Britain’s biggest and most unethical fake and liar, Chris Packham.”

Farrugia disputed statements made by BirdLife and Packham that Maltese hunters were shooting already declining populations of the Turtle Dove, the legally huntable species during spring apart from quail.

“Packham is only getting tweets from uninformed English nationals who he unfortunately seems to convince with his fibs,” Farrugia snapped.

“Anyone with the slightest bird migration knowledge can tell you that the British turtle dove never travels over the Maltese islands, because bird migration over Malta takes place in a north-east direction and vice-versa, whereas any of the British birds that may migrate – since the turtle dove species is also a resident breeding bird in Britain – only travel in a northerly direction and vice-versa,” Farrugia said.

The FKNK chief conceded that it was true that the British bird had suffered the largest decline anywhere, but said the International Union for Conservation of Nature had attributed the turtle dove’s decline to “transformation of agricultural land, including destruction of hedges; the loss of semi-natural habitats; changes in agricultural practices which can reduce both food supply and nesting habitat availability; widespread use of chemical herbicides appears to also be a very serious factor, with a consequent decline or elimination of many food plants; the species is also vulnerable to infection by the protozoan parasite which causes mortality; as well as competition with Eurasian Collared-dove; and other.”

The turtle dove is protected in the UK.

Atlantic puffins and European turtle doves have been added for the first time to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of species at risk of being wiped out.

The turtle dove, once a familiar summer visitor to much of Europe, including south-east England, has suffered declines across the continent of more than 30% over the past 16 years. The decline in the UK has been particularly high, with more than nine out of every 10 birds lost since the 1970s.

The Maltese government said it was taking “special measures” to minimise the impact of its shoot on the bird’s plummeting population, cutting the shooters’ allowance from 11,000 birds to 5,000 turtle doves.

The Maltese narrowly rejected banning spring hunting in a referendum last year in which 50.4% of voters favoured a continuation of their traditional shoot.

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