Hunter caught importing protected species after luggage gets lost

Hunter has hunting licence revoked for life after officials find dead protected birds in his luggage

 The ferrunginous duck is a protected species
The ferrunginous duck is a protected species

A man has been fined €6,000 and given a suspended sentence after his lost luggage was found to contain several dead birds, all of which were protected species.

In a sentence delivered earlier this week, Magistrate Antonio Vella found Kenneth Tanti guilty of having illegally imported the birds after a hunting trip to Romania.

Tanti had been charged after his luggage arrived in Malta three days after him. Officials, alerted by the foul smell emanating from the suitcase, opened it to find three Ferruginous Ducks (Brajmla Ħamra) and a Little Grebe (Blonġun żgħir).

Both the Ferruginous Duck and the Little Grebe are protected species but the Ferruginous Duck enjoys the highest level of protection due to its Annex 1 classification under the EU Birds Directive.

The Directive stipulates that Member States have a duty to safeguard the habitats of migratory birds and “for species and sub-species which are particularly threatened, they must designate (SPAs) Special Protection Areas)

Tanti was fined €6,000 and handed a one-year jail term suspended for three years with probation. His hunting licence was also revoked, for life.