Spring hunting season was ‘one of the worst’ – BirdLife

The NGO said 17 protected birds was recovered and thousands more shot

Thousands of turtle dove were hunted over the pas few days, BirdLife has said
Thousands of turtle dove were hunted over the pas few days, BirdLife has said

A total of 17 protected birds were illegally shot and recovered by BirdLife over the course of the sprint-hunting season which ended on Saturday.

The NGO said the number of shot birds collected by the public, police and BirdLife officials clearly showed that the season was one of the worst in recent years.

"The 17 protected birds confirmed shot by the veterinary are the tip of the iceberg this season, which was supposedly open only for quail, should put to shame all those that defended it in the first place," the NGO said.

Moreover, BirdLife said that the spring hunting season being moved back, against the advice of the NGO and the Environment Resources Authority, allowed hunters to target turtle doves.

"It is clear that this year there were thousands of this species shot over our islands, in particular during the past days when shooting at this protected bird spiralled out of control."

"Changing the dates of the season to coincide with the peak season of turtle dove was a big mistake that should embarrass the government and those who advised it to do so," BirdLife CEO Mark Sultana said.

The NGO added that one could only hope that the government understands that it cannot continue to accept advice on spring hunting and that it would continue to push for the European Commission to investigate the decision, which it said went against the spirit of the European Birds Directive.

Reacting to the statement, Parliamentary Secretary for animal rights Clint Camilleri said the data that BirdLife had based its statement on was incorrect. He said the data actually showed that the number of protected species shot during this year's hunting season was actually 50% lower than it was last year.

More in National