BirdLife welcomes tough talk on poaching, ‘but proof is in results achieved’

BirdLife urges reconsideration of measures known to be effective in preventing the killing of protected birds.

BirdLife Malta has welcomed statements from the Parliamentary Secretariat for Animal Rights promising increases in the number of officers policing the autumn hunting season and forthcoming harsher penalties for those convicted of illegal hunting.

"Any improvement in enforcement is positive and having extra officers in the countryside during the hunting season should enable police to catch more of the criminals targeting protected birds, while the increased penalties will hopefully also act as an added deterrent to illegal hunting," said Steve Micklewright, BirdLife Malta's Executive Director.

But BirdLife Malta fears that by failing to combine the increased police presence with a 3pm curfew during the peak raptor migration period in September a great opportunity has been missed to crack down on illegal hunting.

"Combining increased police presence with the 3pm curfew could see illegal shooting of birds of prey drastically reduced because it would be that much more difficult for people targeting protected birds to go undetected," Micklewright said.

BirdLife applauded the government for its tough stance on enforcement, but urged it to reconsider measures that are known to be effective in preventing the killing of protected birds.

"We wholeheartedly support today's announcements and we look forward to working positively with the government as it implements these changes. While doing so, we will continue to encourage the government to regulate hunting for the benefit of bird conservation and the wider public," Micklewright said.

BirdLife Malta will again be monitoring bird migration and recording and reporting illegal hunting to the authorities this autumn, and will be joined by volunteers from across Europe for their annual Raptor Camp, which starts on Sunday 15th September.

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