Updated | Two more storks killed in Malta, Birdlife: half of flock missing due to illegal hunting

Two more White Storks are killed days after a poacher is charged with the killing of a stork • Parliamentary secretary says shooter has been apprehended

The White Stork was found dead on 15 August. Photo: Alice Tribe, BirdLife Malta
The White Stork was found dead on 15 August. Photo: Alice Tribe, BirdLife Malta

Two more White Storks were confirmed to have been shot today Wednesday, days after four birds were downed by poachers.

BirdLife Malta said that more than half the muster of storks that visited Malta are missing, possibly shot by poachers.

“Just as heard of the return of the same storks in Malta this afternoon, the police administrative law enforcement unit has been busy collecting two of the white storks shot down near Maghtab this evening.

“The birds were taken quickly to the vet, however they did not make it out alive, with the vet confirming both birds have been shot.”

Clint Camilleri, the parliamentary secretary responsible for hunting, tweeted later in the evening saying the shooter had been apprehended.

Camilleri said in the Maltese government would not tolerate any illegalities and that he was confident the justice would prevail. 

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana said stressed however that fines were not enough, while accusing the government of being "held hostage" by the hunting lobby.

The original flock of 18 White Storks that arrived last Friday, now numbers seven as possibly other birds have gone missing due to illegal hunting.

[WATCH] Hunter kills three white storks, BirdLife demands enforcement

Photos: Alice Tribe, BirdLife
Photos: Alice Tribe, BirdLife
Photos: Alice Tribe, BirdLife
Photos: Alice Tribe, BirdLife
Photos: Alice Tribe, BirdLife
Photos: Alice Tribe, BirdLife

In a statement issued on Saturday, the NGO stressed that the incident was not an isolated one, and showed the “extent of widespread illegal hunting”. “For years BirdLife Malta has called on the Prime Minister to set up a wildlife crime unit and it said that the reluctance to implement this was incomprehensible.”

The NGO said it was ironic that at the moment, the Wild Birds Regulation Unit and parliamentary secretary Clint Camilleri were proposing a change in the law on wild rabbit hunting starting next June.

“They want to allow hunting to be done wherever the hunter pleases rather than stating the exact private land on which the hunter will hunt,” BirdLife said, adding that this would weaken the law.

“It will allow it to be a stronger smokescreen than what it is presently.”

The wild rabbit season, the NGO said, would allow hunters to easily target protected birds, stressing that the Ornis committee should not allow the law to amended and weakened. Furthermore it said that in the coming weeks, hundreds of birds of prey would be migrating over Malta and once again the authorities would be asked to “get their act together”.

More in Nature

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe