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.

Anti-bird killing conference in Tunisia

This video is called Bird crime on Malta: Spring hunting season 2013, Montagu’s harrier shot down, CABS Bird Guards.

From BirdLife:

European experts on illegal killing of birds draft action plan in Tunis

At the end of May bird conservation experts met in Tunis at the Week on Conservation of Birds to identify ways forward to tackle illegal killing of birds. During the event, BirdLife Europe Partners shared best practices on key issues, such as bird poisoning, law enforcement measures and awareness strategies. The focus of the conference, organised by CMS and the Council of Europe, was to identify specific actions and priorities to work on, with the goal of ensuring the recovery of especially migratory birds protected by the CMS and Bern Convention.

Attendants reinforced their position on minimizing migratory bird poisoning, considered as “the one cause that probably has the highest conservation impact”, as Willem Van den Bossche, Nature Conservation Officer at BirdLife Europe stated at the meeting.

On the same subject, SEO (BirdLife in Spain) presented the outcomes of the LIFE+ project VENENO, which is bringing governmental authorities, environmental police and NGOs together. The project aims to fight against poisoned baits, identified as one of the main reasons behind migratory bird deaths, together with rodenticides, lead, veterinary drugs and insecticides.

The participants at the Week on Conservation of Birds prepared a draft action plan to reduce the illegal killing of birds. “When approved and linked to the EU roadmap towards eliminating illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds this will be a good tool to measure progress and results of the actions and to strengthen cooperation between stakeholders within the whole flyway of migratory birds”, says Willem Van den Bossche. In that sense, the Bern Convention, a treaty which recognises that European wildlife and habitats need to be preserved and handed on to future generations, is seen as “an opportunity for North African countries which are parties to the Convention to cooperate and protect important bird areas for migrating birds by including them in the Emerald Network, a network similar to Natura 2000 but outside the EU for protecting nature sites”, stresses Claudia Feltrup-Azafzaf, Executive Director at Association “Les Amis des Oiseaux” (AAO) – BirdLife in Tunisia.

At the conference BirdLife Cyprus explained its experience on taking cases into courts to prove that mistnets and limesticks are threatening many migrant birds travelling through the island, and insisted on promoting institutional collaboration and pushing law enforcement to address the issue. Another example was provided by BirdLife Malta. In Malta the law enforcement of illegal trapping and killing of protected birds still needs to be enhanced.

Effects of windfarms and powerlines on migratory birds were also analysed during the meeting. The research info and guidelines that will be produced in the follow-up of this conference will be extremely useful to ensure the zero tolerance approach to illegal killing all parties agree on.

Spoonbill feeding, video

This a video about a spoonbill feeding.

Walter Debloudts from the Netherlands made this video.

Maltese ‘hunters’ caught poaching

This video says about itself:

Illegal hunting in Foresta 2000 Bird Sanctuary, Malta, 18th April 2013

On Thursday afternoon, Spring Watch participants at the Għadira Nature Reserve witnessed masked men hunting illegally inside the Foresta 2000 Bird Sanctuary, taking advantage of the 1pm ALE shift handover during which time hardly any police are present in the countryside.

This is not the first time that such incidents have been reported, but this time round Spring Watch volunteers were able to film and photograph events as they unfolded and have passed on video evidence identifying the individuals to the ALE.

BirdLife Malta has questioned the ability of the Maltese government and enforcement authorities to properly control and limit the spring hunting season in accordance with its derogation of the EU Birds Directive that allows spring hunting of turtle dove and quail.

BirdLife Malta says that it has witnessed widespread illegal hunting in the first week of the season and the number of hunters and amount of shooting are not compatible with a strictly enforced spring hunting season.

Read the full press release here.

From Wildlife Extra:

Maltese hunting and conservation official photographed shooting inside a bird sanctuary

Malta hunt ‘out of control’

April 2013. Edwin Vella, a high-ranking Malta Hunting and Conservation (Yes really – Ed.) Federation (FKNK) official, has been fined 1000 Euros after being photographed hunting illegally inside the Foresta 2000 Bird Sanctuary, only hours after another Maltese man, Chris Gauci, was convicted of the same offence.

Hunting season out of control

BirdLife Malta will be calling on the government to put an immediate end to the current spring hunting season, which it said was completely out of control, with bag limits and quotas not being respected or supervised and the police unable to cope with the number of hunters and scale of abuse.

Steve Micklewright, BirdLife Malta’s Executive Director, said, “The fact that an FKNK official has now been caught hunting illegally in a protected area demands that immediate action be taken to prevent the situation spiraling further out of control. We will demand that suspension of the hunting season is discussed at Tuesday’s Hunting Derogation Board meeting.”

BirdLife will also call on the FKNK to resign their place on the Hunting Derogation Monitoring Board because their position is no longer tenable in the light of this most recent incident. Mr Micklewright added, “An organization that includes people who flagrantly disregard the law among its officials can clearly not be trusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the conditions of the spring derogation are respected and abuses curtailed,” said Mr Micklewright.

Serious questions

BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager, Nicholas Barbara, said that the incident raised some serious questions about the sincerity and credibility of the FKNK’s statements that it will not tolerate any illegal hunting by its members, and the organisation’s self-purported ability to police its members’ activities during the hunting season.

“The FKNK claim to have marshals in the field supervising the hunting season, but we have not seen any. It is also high time the FKNK published records of the number and type of any hunting and trapping offences committed by their members and what action the FKNK has taken in each case,” said Mr Barbara.

As for the incident itself, BirdLife said that it clearly demonstrates the invaluable role of photographic and video evidence gathering by BirdLife staff and Spring Watch camp volunteers in detecting and securing prosecutions for illegal hunting offences. “Without the work done by our local staff and international volunteers, I have no doubt that the majority of illegal hunting offences would go unpunished,” said Mr Barbara.

Rather than supporting BirdLife Malta’s efforts to end illegal hunting, the FKNK has consistently called into question the authenticity of video and photographic evidence documenting illegal hunting offences in the Maltese countryside.

Commenting on evidence showing Chris Gauci and a second accused man, Carl Borg, hunting inside Foresta 2000 Bird Sanctuary, a moderator on the FKNK’s internet forum questioned whether photos and video of the two men hunting in Foresta 2000 Bird Sanctuary was genuine. “It would be interesting to know whether the two men accused are members of the FKNK, and if so, what action has been taken,” said Mr Barbara.

To find out how to report illegal hunting visit

Maltese criminals kill rare birds

This video is called Birds of Israel – Pallid Harrier.

From Wildlife Extra:

Pallid Harriers amongst rare birds shot in Malta

International volunteers arrive for spring conservation camp as spring hunting derogation claims first victims

April 2013. BirdLife Malta has recovered a Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus), one of Europe’s most threatened birds of prey, which was found with shotgun wounds by a member of the public in Gozo.

This is the second Pallid Harrier known to have been shot in the Maltese Islands in little more than half a year. In September last year, a juvenile male was recovered, again in Gozo. The young bird, making only its third journey between Europe and Africa, which was not seriously injured, was sent to the Centro Recupero Fauna Selvatica, a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Sicily. There are estimated to be as few as 310 breeding pairs of Pallid Harriers left in Europe, where it is undergoing steep population decline since the 1970s.

“When you consider the small numbers of the bird left in Europe, the impact of having even two individuals shot on their migration could be catastrophic.”

Other protected birds that have been shot in the first few days include a European Bee-eater, a kestrel and a Common Cuckoo.

Conservation camp

Spring Watch, BirdLife Malta’s annual spring conservation camp has got underway with 40 international volunteers joining local conservationists to help monitor spring bird migration, and deter and report illegal hunting during Malta’s spring hunting derogation period. The camp starts on the 4th day of the season and participants will operate in teams at locations around Malta and Gozo until the end of the season on the 30th April.

“The hunting season opened a full two days earlier this year and Spring Watch volunteers have been sorely missed in these first days,” said Christian Debono, BirdLife Malta‘s Conservation and Policy Officer.

9,500 hunters licensed

This year 9,500 hunters are licensed to shoot Turtle Doves and Quail between 10th and 30th April- an increase of more than 3,000 licenses over last year, following the waiver of the 50 Euro spring hunting license fee, and the removal of armbands, a measure put in place to distinguish between licensed and unlicensed hunters.

Illegal methods

As migration of many European birds has started to pick up, protected birds have already fallen victim to illegal hunting and trapping in the first days of the spring hunting season, with reports of electronic quail lures, shots at birds of prey, use of cage traps and use of repeater shotguns already witnessed in the first days of the season.

“We have had to make do with a small number of local staff and volunteers to try to monitor a few locations as best we can, and already we have witnessed hunters shooting at protected birds of prey. Worryingly, the number of police patrols in the countryside also appears to be very small and it is likely that other illegalities are going completely undetected.”

Poaching within reserve

BirdLife recovered a Common Kestrel shot near Victoria, Gozo, while two hunters, one of them wearing a balaclava to hide his face, were photographed poaching within the Foresta 2000 Bird Sanctuary in Mellieha. Police and MEPA enforcement officers responded to the incident, but the two men managed to escape.

Two men were filmed and photographed using illegal cages traps (Trabokki) to trap protected song birds in the valley below the FKNK-managed woodland at Mizieb. This time police attending the scene were able to apprehend the suspects and confiscate the banned cage traps.

“In 2011 and 2012, spring hunting seasons have been marked by an increase in witnessed illegal hunting incidents, correlating with increased numbers of licenses. With migration of many protected European breeding birds still picking up, while at the same time having a record amount of hunters out this spring, we can only fear the worst,” commented BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager, Nicholas Barbara.

“The record number of hunters and relaxed hunting legislation in a period when migrating birds are at their most vulnerable, as they make their way to their breeding grounds, make the work of the Spring Watch volunteers even more valuable,” said Mr Barbara. “We encourage to public to report illegal hunting, and take an active role in ensuring abuses are curtailed.”

BirdLife Malta continues to operate a voluntary scheme to recover injured wild birds. Anyone finding an injured bird can contact the BirdLife office on 21347644-6.

Anyone wishing to participate in the camp can still do so by contacting BirdLife Malta, and anyone witnessing illegalities is urged to report these to the police by calling the Administrative Law Enforcement unit on 22942161-3 or District Police on 21224001 or 119.

Maltese speak out against bird poaching

This video from Malta says about itself:

16 February 2013

Maltese people speak out about abuses in the countryside and call on politicians to stop chasing hunters’ votes and take action to protect wildlife and safe access to Malta’s countryside for all ahead of the general election on 9 March 2013.

Make the politicians listen! Your Voice Counts!

Times change, some things don’t…

For decades, politicians have granted hunters and trappers undue privilege with the result that they feel able to illegally occupy the countryside and kill protected species.

Politicians feel vulnerable before an election and the hunting lobby has been using this to their advantage. This time again, votes are being waved under their noses to bully politicians into submission.

This only works if politicians are convinced the occupation of public land, the widespread use of firearms in the countryside and the senseless killing of protected species are not a priority for you.

This time, make sure politicians are listening to you. When they knock on your door, tell them what you think.


A comment at YouTube on this video:

I am Maltese. MALTESE. I decided to go for my daily walk near Girgenti, rather than going around town like usual. All of a sudden, some hunter saw me, and he started shooting in the air, trying to scare me off. Being a woman, and being alone, in the middle of nowhere I walked back home.My own Country, My own home town, and I am not allowed to walk in the streets. X’gharukaza.