Maltese eagle killers convicted

This is a video of an Estonian lesser spotted eagle, feeding an eaglet at its nest.

From the Bognor Regis Observer in Britain:

Rare bird killers caught by chance

Published Date: 04 June 2009

Hunters who killed a protected bird which was flying to Europe have been convicted thanks to a chance encounter with a Scottish animal welfare investigator.

Bob Elliot, head of investigations for RSPB in Scotland, saw two men stalk and shoot a roosting lesser spotted eagle in Malta, in a forest near the presidential palace.

His account – and video footage of the shooting – helped convict the men, who were fined thousands of euros by a Maltese court this week.

Mr Elliot, based in Edinburgh, was called to the islands to help the RSPB’s partner charity BirdLife Malta. He said: “The illegal killing of birds of prey is happening across Europe.

“In the UK, we are familiar with the illegal killing of birds of prey, such as hen harrier, red kite and even golden eagle but even I have been staggered by the scale of the slaughter in Malta, which must have the highest number of incidents of anywhere in Europe.”

Mr Elliot usually helps Scottish authorities catch hunters and rare egg collectors as well as appearing as an expert witness in wildlife crime cases.

The RSPB said fewer than a “handful” of lesser spotted eagles pass through Malta on their way from Africa to north-east Europe each year, making the bird a highly prized trophy.

Duncan Orr-Ewing, head of species at the charity, said officers are called out to the islands every year to lend their expertise. He added: “It can be a bit of a chance encounter. People go to great lengths to shoot these birds. They don’t do it to eat them, it’s a huge thing there to have stuffed rare birds.”

Philip Tanti and his accomplice Joseph Camilleri were caught by Mr Elliot and observers from Raptor Camp, a network organised by BirdLife Malta, on September 28 last year.

The RSPB said Tanti “also possessed 15 protected species” and was fined 2,500 euros. He had his shooting licence withdrawn for one year and his shotgun confiscated. Camilleri was fined 1,800 euros and had his licence withdrawn for a year.

See also here.

Lesser spotted eagle shot in Malta as illegal bird hunt continues: here.

Golden eagle poisoned in West Scotland: here.

Scottish golden eagles spared wind farm threat: here.

Britain: ‘One of worst years’ for attacks on peregrine falcons: here.

Red kites in Scotland: here.

Scotland Red kites number reach highest level for 150 years: here.

Scottish golden eagle: here.

Hen harriers, Terschelling: here.

Red kites spreading into England from Wales: here.

Red kite poisoning a problem across Europe: here.

7 thoughts on “Maltese eagle killers convicted

  1. Rare birds in poison threat

    By Louise Hogan

    Monday February 15 2010

    UP to 50 birds of prey will be released into the wild this year but conservation projects remain under threat amid poisoning fears.

    The European Commission is examining an official complaint lodged over Ireland’s handling of the fatal poisoning of rare species.

    Five white-tailed sea eagles, a golden eagle and two red kites have been found poisoned since the ambitious project to reintroduce the once-common birds was launched.

    “This is danger time now, it is coming up to lambing time — from February right up to May,” Dr Allan Mee, the scientist in charge of the white-tailed eagle release project, warned.

    Springtime has proved a perilous period — with three birds found dead last year, according to Lorcan O’Toole of the Golden Eagle Trust, the charity managing the projects with the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

    The Government has failed to fulfil promises to strengthen legislation which would tackle the laying out of poisoned meat bait, the charity said.

    “Reluctantly, we feel obliged to protect the public funding in these national restoration projects by making this formal European complaint,” Mr O’Toole said.

    The conservationists say a few simple changes, such as farmers using non-meat baits to target crows and foxes, could help alleviate the accidental poisonings.

    Mr O’Toole said a petition signed by more than 11,000 people showed the vast majority of those in rural and farming sectors were “fed up with the lazy and reckless use of indiscriminate poison”.

    Since 2001, 55 young white-tailed eagles have been released in Killarney National Park, Co Kerry, 53 golden eagles were set free in Co Donegal and a further 83 red kites were released in Co Wicklow.

    Last year no golden eagle fledglings were released in Co Donegal as the Scottish National Heritage — which provides the birds — had concerns over the poisoning.

    However, it is hoped that up to 20 white-tailed eagles will be brought in from Norway this year, while up to 25 red kites from Wales, and as many as eight golden eagles from Scotland, will be released in Ireland.


    “The continued release of birds in Ireland was contingent on the banning of poisons — we promised the Scottish and the Norwegians that it was imminent. But it hasn’t happened yet,” Dr Mee said.

    The trust has confirmed it is on target to re-establish the three species in the country. Prior to the project, white-tailed eagles were last recorded off the coasts of Co Kerry and Co Mayo in 1898 — while golden eagles became extinct in the 1950s.

    Meanwhile, nature lovers who feed stale bread to swans have been criticised by experts.

    The Galway and Claddagh Swan Rescue Group has issued a large slice of advice to wildlife enthusiasts who feed white, stale and even mouldy bread to the famous flock of swans close to Galway city centre

    The Claddagh Group is asking visitors to give the birds fibre-rich brown bread or cooked vegetables such as potatoes, carrots or cabbage instead.

    Mouldy bread causes Pink Flamingo Syndrome, which causes the swans to lose their waterproofing, and white bread offers little nutrition.

    – Louise Hogan

    Irish Independent


  2. Pingback: Stop European bird crime | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Spoonbill Cynthia killed by power line | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Malta migratory bird massacre, filmed by Chris Packham | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Rare bustard bird smugglers busted in Kuwait | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Good Maltese birds news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Bird crime in Britain, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.