Malta migratory bird massacre, filmed by Chris Packham


This video is called Illegal finch trapping, spring 2014, Malta.

From Wildlife Extra:

Wildlife presenter Chris Packham to film the indiscriminate shooting of migrating birds on Malta

April 2014: Heading a self-funded camera crew, wildlife presenter Chris Packham will be filing nightly reports on YouTube of the events in Malta, as thousands of illegal hunters kill all manner of migrating birds as they pass over the island on their way from Africa to their European breeding grounds. These films, which Packham says on his website (www.chrispackham.co.uk) will not make comfortable viewing, will be shown from Easter Monday until Saturday, 26 April.

The annual spring slaughter on Malta, which last year involved at least 24 protected species, accounts for the deaths of honey buzzards, golden orioles, ospreys, cuckoos, night herons and black storks, among many others, and jeopardises future populations of these birds, which are either officially endangered or in severe decline here and in other parts of Europe.

In addition, many smaller species of birds such as finches, are trapped in nets, which also often account for the deaths of other animals accidentally caught in them.

On his website, Packham says of his team: “Our mission is to generate a wider awareness of this heinous practice with frank and factual reports from the frontline where our much loved migrant birds are being shot in huge numbers. It will not be pretty, the species killed include many UK favourites and rarities and the hunters are infamous for being confrontational and violent. I don’t care, this is not a holiday, it’s an attempt to bring this forgotten issue to a wider public attention and then to offer a couple of ways the viewers can actually do something to effect positive change.

“Please try to watch our broadcasts and please publicise them as widely as possible. I believe that people will be truly horrified when they see what happens on Malta to ‘our birds’, I believe they care and they will do something to change it.”

Existing Maltese laws that cover the hunting season, which is between 12 and 30 April, allow strictly regulated hunting of turtle doves and quail only, but these are openly flouted by local hunters. Following its entry into the EU in 2004, Malta was expected to curtail the spring hunting of turtle doves and quail, in line with the EU Birds Directive that prohibits the killing of such wild birds during the breeding or spring migration season. When this was not enforced by 2007, the European Courts of Justice ordered the country’s government not to open the spring hunting season in 2008. However, to date this has not happened. The illegal hunting of other birds, such as raptors, is not prosecuted in the country as there are limited resources to police it, and there is a strong pro-hunting lobby.

Birdlife Malta organises a Spring Watch camp, supported by ordinary people from all over Europe, to monitor bird migration on Malta and Gozo during the spring hunting season and prevent illegal hunting and trapping. Members of the camp have often been targeted by hunters with aggressive abuse and criminal damage.

For more information visit www.birdlifemalta.org.

To see Chris Packham’s films visit YouTube at 9.00pm UK time between 21 and 26 April.

See also here.

The video diary of events at the illegal spring hunting season on the Mediterranean island of Malta became an audio diary on Saturday 26 April, informing viewers that Chris Packham was arrested by Maltese police and held for four hours of questioning: here.

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Storm petrels nesting in Tunisia?


This video says about itself:

10 Sep 2012

Video from the EU Life+ Malta Seabird Project of a Mediterranean Storm Petrel chick being visited on its nest by one of its parents.

From North African Birds blog:

February 16, 2014 by

Ouni, R., Durand, J.-P., Mayol Serra, J., Essetti, I., Thevenet, M., & Renou, S. (2012). Nidification possible de l’Océanite tempête Hydrobates pelagicus à l’île Zembra, Tunisie. Alauda 80(4): 301–304.   PDF

Abstract:

Possible breeding of European Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus at Zembra Island, Tunisia.

After investigations over five years, the first record of 6 individuals in late June 2012 suggests the possibility that this species breeds on Zembra and Zembretta archipelago in Tunisia.
Related papers:

Bourgeois, K., Ouni, R., Pascal, M., Dromzée, S., Fourcy, D., & Abiadh, A. (2013). Dramatic increase in the Zembretta Yelkouan shearwater breeding population following ship rat eradication spurs interest in managing a 1500-year old invasionBiological Invasions 15(3) : 475-482.

Revealing the steep decline of European Storm Petrels at western Scotland’s largest colony: here.

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Good Indian Amur falcon news, bad Maltese eagle news


This video is called Amur falcon‘s epic journey.

From Wildlife Extra:

Amur falcon massacre one year on – No birds killed so far!

Three weeks into the migration – Amur falcons hunted: Zero

October 2013. One year ago, more than 100,000 Amur falcons were killed in Nagaland in north-east India where they stop over on migration from southern Africa to Mongolia and eastern China. They make this journey, an extraordinary round-trip of some 14,000 miles every year, but it recently became apparent that as many as 100,000 falcons (some estimate even more) were being killed on their migration when they reached Nagaland. Witnesses claimed that tens of thousands of Amur falcons were being trapped and slaughtered every day during their migration.

So far in 2013, more than 300,000 Amur Falcons have arrived in Nagaland on migration. However, thanks to a campaign organised by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), squads of ex-hunters and youths from three villages in the area have been patrolling the falcon roosting areas day and night to ensure they are safe.

Remarkably, the squads have recorded that not a single bird has been killed.

WTI and Natural Nagas started the project to prevent the slaughter of Amur falcons earlier this year, with support from CAF-India in collaboration with Nagaland Forest Department. The Village Council Members of three villages pledged that their respective villages would [stop to] hunt or kill falcons and made it a punishable offence. This was preceded and followed by a number of awareness campaigns and meetings with the villagers.

This video from 2012 is called Thousands of Amur falcon birds poached in Nagaland. I hope that the horrible images of this video will now be history forever.

Unfortunately, not all bird news is as good as this item from India.

This video from Malta says about itself:

12 confirmed shot in Maltese eagle massacre

Thursday 24th October- This morning the confirmed body count of eagles shot down by hunters in Malta and Gozo reached 12, after two more of these rare and highly protected birds of prey were killed in front of watching BirdLife Malta volunteers.

BirdLife Malta’s Conservation Manager, Nicholas Barbara, described the events as a tragic wake-up call:

“We haven’t seen the wanton slaughter of this many protected birds by this many hunters in Malta for a long time. It is difficult to see this as anything other than a complete catastrophe and the descriptions of the scale of killing we have seen in the last 24 hours as an “isolated incident” and the scenario that only a few rogue bad apples are responsible for killing protected birds is not consistent with reality.”

“We can only hope that these events serve as a serious wake-up call to the government that the current enforcement of hunting is not doing the job and things need to change for the situation to improve.”

Read the full story here.

Lampedusa, European governmental xenophobia kills refugees


This video is called (Again) More than 50 Migrant deaths Near Lampedusa 11/10/2013.

By Alex Lantier:

Fifty dead as another migrant ship sinks off Italy

12 October 2013

Dozens of migrants died yesterday when their boat capsized in heavy seas 100 kilometers south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, only one week after a similar disaster claimed the lives of at least 339 migrants within sight of the island.

Italian news agency Ansa said approximately 50 bodies, including women and 10 children, had been pulled from the water.

The navies of Italy and the nearby island nation of Malta worked to rescue survivors of the sinking. A Maltese ship reported having picked up approximately 150 people, while the Italian navy said it had rescued around 50 survivors and was sending more rescue boats to the scene.

“The operation is in progress. The navigational conditions are difficult, with a strong wind,” a Maltese navy spokesman told Agence France-Presse last night.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told a news conference in Valletta that Maltese officials could confirm the death of at least 27 people, and “the number is expected to rise, possibly drastically.”

An Italian helicopter flew 10 rescued children to Lampedusa—where the survivors of last week’s sinking are being held under guard, threatened with deportation and fines of up to €5,000.

Initial reports indicated that the migrant ship ran into difficulty from the heavy seas and decided to signal for help. The boat allegedly capsized when those aboard gathered at one end of the vessel to catch the attention of a military aircraft flying nearby.

This shocking tragedy again underscores the terrible toll in lives from the European Union’s (EU) reactionary Frontex anti-immigrant legislation. Designed to keep immigrants from reaching Europe, it forces them to take unsafe routes into Europe and trust their lives to unseaworthy vessels, with tragic results.

Over the past 20 years, an estimated 25,000 people have died trying to enter Europe, many of them in the Mediterranean.

Public anger over the legislation has risen since last week’s Lampedusa sinking, with protests in Africa and in Italy, including a candlelight vigil on Lampedusa itself. When Manuel Barroso, the head of the EU Commission, arrived in Lampedusa on Wednesday, he was met with cries of “shame.”

The nationalities of the victims of yesterday’s sinking are not yet known. UN officials told the Associated Press that migrants today are generally fleeing persecution and wars in countries like Syria or Egypt.

Escalating fighting triggered by NATO-led proxy wars in Syria and Africa is forcing ever larger numbers of people to flee for their lives. The ship that sank on October 3 was carrying migrants from the East African countries of Eritrea and Somalia. Somalia has been the target of US drone strikes, invasions by regional military powers, and escalating tribal fighting.

Some 30,100 migrants arrived in Italy and Malta in the first nine months of 2013, compared with 15,000 in all of 2012. The 2013 figure included 7,500 refugees from Syria and 3,000 from Somalia.

The author also recommends:

Fortress Europe’s rising death toll.

Maltese birds still more endangered


This video is called Birds in Malta.

From Wildlife Extra:

Malta to remove some of the little protection that birds get

Introducing… The Wild Birds Deregulation Unit

13th August 2013 – BirdLife Malta has reacted to the news that the government is going to push back the autumn hunting afternoon curfew to 7pm by describing the team that has made this decision as Malta‘s very own “Birds Deregulation Unit”.

BirdLife Malta Executive Director Steve Micklewright said, “The media revealed that the government’s new Wild Birds Regulation Unit was being staffed by hunting sympathisers last week. This decision clearly shows what happens when you put hunters in charge of bird conservation.”

Licence for the illegal killing of protected birds

Describing the decision as a “licence for the illegal killing of protected birds”, Mr Micklewright concluded that, “This decision clearly shows that bird conservation on Malta is not best served by the new Wild Birds Regulation Unit under the Parliamentary Secretary for Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights.”

BirdLife Malta has sent an urgent letter to the Prime Minister asking for his direct intervention. Mr Micklewright added, “In our letter to the Prime Minister we call for bird conservation issues to be dealt with by the Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change, the decision to remove the curfew only emphasises that these issues are in the wrong hands.”

The decision flies in the face of careful evidence placed before the Ornis Committee in July 2013. BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager Nicholas Barbara said, “We provided clear evidence to the Ornis Committee that when the 3pm curfew was not in place during the first week of October when bird of prey migration is still on, we have witnessed many more incidents of shooting at protected species in the afternoons compared to when the curfew was still in place in September. This clearly shows that the 3pm curfew was effective.”

Completely useless

Commenting on the decision to push back the curfew to 7pm, Mr Barbara described this decision as, “completely useless” adding that, “Having the curfew at 7pm is practically equivalent to removing it. By 7pm most birds of prey would have roosted already, after having flown at low altitude within shooting range in search of a roosting site. It is the hours before dark that are the most critical and not after sunset.”

The proposal for a 7pm curfew extended by one week was made to the Ornis Committee by the Acting Head of the Wild Birds Regulation Unit, Sergei Golovkin who described it as, “An intermediary measure of a give and take situation.” Nicholas Barbara added, “When he was challenged by BirdLife about the logical sense of a curfew push back, no concrete answer was given.”

Hunters lobbied hard for the complete removal of the curfew arguing that law-abiding hunters were being penalised at the expense of the few illegal killers. Commenting on this position Mr Micklewright said, “The target species for law-abiding hunters are turtle dove and quail. Both turtle dove and quail tend to migrate at night and they are mostly hunted during the early hours of the morning. Pushing back the curfew will therefore make no difference to most law-abiding hunters.”

Refugees from NATO’s ‘new’ Libya in danger


This video is called Racism of the new Libyan government unveiled.

From Amnesty International (London):

Libya: Migrants Rescued At Sea After Fleeing Libya Must Be Allowed to Disembark in Malta

6 August 2013

Press release

The Maltese authorities must urgently allow a boat carrying 102 sub-Saharan Africans to disembark those on board, Amnesty International said.

The private vessel ‘MV Salamis’, which rescued the group stranded at sea and reportedly includes pregnant women, one injured woman and a five-month-old baby among its passengers, was stopped by the Maltese navy before it entered Maltese territorial waters last night. The group is currently stranded off the Maltese coast.

“The Maltese authorities have a humanitarian duty to ensure the safety and well-being of those rescued. They must allow the boat to disembark in Malta and its passengers to be given any necessary medical treatment, as well as a chance to apply for asylum,” said Jezerca Tigani, deputy director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

“Otherwise, the highest price may be paid by the women, men and children who may have to spend another night at sea with the fear of being sent back to Libya.”

The Maltese government has said it does not intend to take the passengers ashore, saying the ship’s captain should have taken them back to Libya.

“The Maltese government is wasting precious time in refusing to disembark people in immediate need,” said Jezerca Tigani.

Amnesty International considers that no passenger onboard MV Salamis should be removed to Libya. This would violate the international prohibition against removing anyone to a place where they would face a real risk of ill-treatment or other serious human rights abuses.

The military coup in neighbouring Egypt that overthrew President Mohamed Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood government has further destabilised the shaky NATO-installed interim government of Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan: here.

Apartheid for asylum seekers comes to Europe: here.