FKNK calls out 'arrogant' BirdLife over dead turtle dove stunt

Hunting lobby group FKNK says BirdLife Malta committed a crime by placing a dead turtle dove in front of the prime minister's office on Thursday

Hunting lobby group FKNK has accused BirdLife Malta of putting undue pressure on the courts as a case on whether the hunting of turtle doves should be allowed to take place is expected to be heard this afternoon.

This comes after BirdLife Malta placed a dead turtle dove on the steps of the prime minister's office on Thursday to highlight that turtle doves are still being hunted despite the matter being pending in front of the court.

FKNK has referred the matter to the police, claiming that BirdLife Malta committed a crime by possessing a dead turtle dove, which is illegal.

The group also called BirdLife “arrogant” for questioning government’s official figures on hunted birds and calling into question the validity of the data.

BirdLife Malta has challenged the ORNIS committee's decision to recommend spring hunting for turtle dove, with a prohibitory injunction meaning the hunting season for turtle dove remains closed.

It said that the numbers of the previous season's catch are based on flawed data, since only 4% of registered hunters reported a catch.

But FKNK defended the move to lift the moratorium on turtle dove hunting, saying it has submitted evidence that supports the decision.

It also said that the turtle dove project resulted in 2,800 turtle doves being released in the wild between 2017 and 2022. Meanwhile, around 2,134 turtle doves were hunted during the same period.

BirdLife Malta’s court case to stop the spring hunting season for turtle dove is due to be heard on Friday afternoon.

In its response to the case, the government accused BirdLife of forum shopping and recycling arguments made in last year’s case, which saw BirdLife challenge a legal notice opening the spring hunting season after the notice was published.

This year, BirdLife challenged the legal notice before it was issued.