BirdLife cries foul as more protected birds shot

The total shot protected birds collected since the start of the year is now 64 – a trend which BirdLife says confirms that 2018 will be the worst year in the last six for illegal hunting. 

One of the dead birds recovered by BirdLife
One of the dead birds recovered by BirdLife

A number of protected birds have been shot as they overflew the islands this month; three in the past 24 hours, environmental NGO Birdlife says.

The total of known shot protected birds seen by the government vet so far since the start of the autumn hunting season on 1st September is now 20. This brings the total of collected shot protected birds since the start of the year to 64 – a trend which BirdLife says confirms that 2018 will be the worst in the last six years for illegal hunting. “These 64 are just the tip of the iceberg as many other shot birds would have not been retrieved and the number does not include birds seen flying with injuries,” BirdLife said on Facebook.

This total also does not include the latest three known casualties collected in the past 24 hours which are being seen by the vet today – a dead Grey Heron collected from the sea at Għadira and two Bee Eaters which were found in Dingli and Mqabba.

Birdlife says the Government vet had confirmed that the last three injured protected birds collected yesterday and another one we received today had all been shot.

This means that the total of known shot protected birds collected by BirdLife Malta and the police since the start of this year's autumn hunting season has now reached 24 - an average of more than one retrieved bird per day of the season which started on 1st September.

The birds which were confirmed shot during the past 24 hours are a Grey Heron (Russett Griż) which was found dead at sea in Għadira, a European Bee Eater (Qerd in-Naħal) recovered from Dingli and another Bee Eater found at Ħandaq - all from yesterday, and a Little Egret (Agrett Abjad) found dead this morning at Mistra Valley.

A number of Black Storks visited the islands yesterday. BirdLife Malta birdwatchers took photos of one of the Black Storks over Buskett and Girgenti in the afternoon. The NGO says it had received a report from the public of a large bird being shot down over Xlendi cliffs in Gozo and falling into the sea earlier today. A person was witnessed collecting it in a boat and leaving the scene. The police were informed immediately and searched an individual but found nothing. Later in the evening a Black Stork (Ċikonja Sewda) landed at Għadira Nature Reserve and roosted there. The bird has a visible injury to one of its legs, possibly as a result of a gunshot wound, BirdLife said.


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