[WATCH] FKNK 'official' filmed shooting protected turtle dove, BirdLife says

BirdLife footage shows an official on the FKNK's Miżieb sub-committee shooting at a protected turtle dove during the spring season • FKNK says it will take action when it has proof of wrongdoing from the courts or the police

(Photo: BirdLife Malta)
(Photo: BirdLife Malta)

BirdLife Malta today released exclusive footage which shows an FKNK "official" breaking the law during this year’s spring hunging season.

In a statement, the NGO said that the video shows Lawrence Vella, a Federation for Hunting and Conservation official on the hunting federation’s sub-committee for Miżieb, shooting at a protected turtle dove while hunting at Miżieb.

BirdLife said that the the area was not normally associated with quail, the only legally huntable species during the spring hunging season.

The footage was filmed on 16 April and at one point, according to the bird conservation group, Vella can be seen standing up, raising his gun and shooting at a bird three times consecutively, with the bird clearly seen in the footage falling out of the sky.

The video clearly shows Lawrence Vella hunting (Photo:BirdLife)
The video clearly shows Lawrence Vella hunting (Photo:BirdLife)

“He is one of several hunters filmed hunting turtle doves during the spring hunting season of this year,” BirdLife said, adding that all the footage was today passed on to the police ALE section for further investigation.

BirdLife said that a few days before the season closure, FKNK publicly stated that it would not tolerate any abuses and warned any members caught breaking the law that if found guilty they will be suspended and their hunting licence will be withdrawn.

“We trust that with the very clear evidence we are presenting today, FKNK will put its words into action and immediately suspend its official who was caught on camera breaking the law from his role and also as a member, condemn his actions, disassociate itself from his wrongdoings and above all, collaborate with the enforcement authorities to bring him to justice,” BirdLife said.

Contacted by MaltaToday, FKNK CEO Lino Farrugia insisted that Vella was not an FKNK official. When it was pointed out that BirdLife claimed he was a member of a sub-committee, Farrugia acknowledged that it could be the case.

He said, however that the organisation would not be taking any disciplinary action until it had proof of wrongdoing. 

“As we have done in the past, if there is concrete proof coming from the courts or the police, we will take action,” he said, adding that no action would be taken on the basis of the footage in BirdLife’s possession.

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