Spring hunting season inspections surpass 1,300 in first five days

Officials from the Wild Birds Regulation Unit and the police have carried out more than 1,300 inspections so far, as BirdLife reports a second illegal shooting of a bird of prey

BirdLife have reported a second incident involving a shot protected bird, in this case a marsh harrier (Photo: BirdLife Malta)
BirdLife have reported a second incident involving a shot protected bird, in this case a marsh harrier (Photo: BirdLife Malta)

With the spring hunting season in its first week, law enforcement officials have carried out more than 1,300 inspections, the parliamentary secretariat for animal rights said.

The secretariat said that during some of these inspections, illegal decoys used to attract turtle dove were removed.

In a statement on Monday morning, the secretariat said 47 officials from the Wild Birds Regulation Unit and the police Administrative Law Enforcement section carried out 1,040 inspections in Malta and 332 in Gozo.

The police also carried out 157 inspections on the road to verify that hunters were observing the conditions imposed by the special spring hunting licence.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had admitted last month that enforcement of hunting regulations had to improve, acknowledging concerns raised by bird conservation groups.

The details released by the secretariat came as BirdLife Malta reported that it received a second confirmed shooting of a Marsh Harrier in a week.

The bird conservation group said that the protected bird of prey was found by cyclists on the ground at Miżieb on Sunday morning with gunshot injuries. The Miżieb woodland is claimed as a hunting ground by the hunting federation, FKNK.

Hunters can only shoot for quail in spring and BirdLife said the habitat at Miżieb is not suited for this bird.

“Any hunting that happens in Miżieb these days is likely for protected species,” the organisation said.

The spring hunting season opened on Easter Sunday and will close on 21 April.

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