Rare birds shot in Malta


This video from Malta says about itself:

This Black-winged Stilt flew into the Ghadira nature reserve after being shot earlier in the morning during the breeding season. His mate also suffered gunshot injuries. Unfortunately the male bird died shortly after arriving at the reserve.

From BirdLife Malta:

Targeting of rare bird of prey among illegalities recorded on Easter weekend

Monday, 5 April 2010

Footage released by BirdLife Malta today revealed the targeting of rare and protected species over the Easter weekend, where one of the rarest birds of prey in Europe was seen struggling to survive gunshot wounds, and a hunter in Gozo was filmed shooting at protected birds in broad daylight by the side of a main road.

The Pallid Harrier (Bagħdan Abjad) footage was filmed from the Foresta 2000 site in Mellieha on Easter Sunday. The bird, an adult male, had extensive shotgun injuries, with shotgun damage to its wing and a broken, dangling leg. The bird was trying to roost in fields adjacent to Ghadira. It was observed trying to stand in the fields but, being unable to stand on one leg, was forced to continue flying, struggling as it went along.

The Pallid Harrier is considered to be one of the rarest birds of prey in Europe – there are only between five and 51 breeding pairs of Pallid Harrier in the region, excluding Russian populations. It is classified as a ‘Species of Conservation Concern’ in Europe. It is also listed as ‘Near Threatened’ under the Global Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

This is the third shot Pallid Harrier recorded by BirdLife Malta since 2007. The conservation organisation received a shot adult male in April 2007 and witnessed another badly injured Pallid Harrier flying over Fomm ir-Rih in May 2008.

Dr Andre Raine, BirdLife Malta’s Conservation Manager, said: “The death of even one of these extremely rare birds will have significant repercussions on the few remaining breeding pairs in Europe. This incident highlights the serious impact that illegal hunting in Malta is having on rare and endangered species.”

In a separate incident on Easter Sunday in Marsalforn valley in Gozo, a young hunter was filmed sneaking up on a flock of Black-winged Stilts (Fras-servjent) that were resting near the main road from Victoria to Marsalforn, while a constant stream of traffic passed behind him. He then fired three shots at the birds, before running back under the road and into a tunnel, disappearing from view.

Black-winged Stilts are wading birds that are classified as a protected species under Annex 1 of the Birds Directive, but are regularly targeted by illegal hunters in Malta. Last June, for example, BirdLife Malta retrieved a badly shot male from the Ghadira Nature Reserve, where a pair had been courting and were apparently attempting to breed.

“This footage amply demonstrates the brazen nature of these poachers. While a constant stream of Easter Sunday traffic passed right behind him, this individual still felt that he could shoot at a protected species without any concern for the law. With incidents like these still being recorded on a regular basis, it is evident that illegal hunting is very far from being under control in Malta.’ added Dr. Raine.

The conservation organisation insisted that while illegal hunting continues unabated, it would be extremely irresponsible of the authorities to consider opening another spring hunting season as this would only work in favour of poachers. An open spring hunting season makes it more difficult for the police to control what is being shot when thousands of hunters are permitted to roam the countryside with their shotguns.

BirdLife Malta today demanded that before any spring hunting decision is announced the government must publish the number of birds shot and trapped in 2008, questioning the reasons for the delay: here.

BirdLife volunteer attacked by trapper; Times of Malta: here.

September [2010]. BirdLife Malta and CABS (Committee Against Bird Slaughter) has received many reports of illegal hunting the day before their international conservation camps started. BirdLife Malta also received many reports of protected species being shot after a storm the previous night brought many migratory birds into Malta seeking shelter: here.

September 2010. On the anniversary of the discovery of more than 200 dead protected birds stashed throughout the Mizieb woodland, BirdLife Malta and the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) have revealed more evidence of illegal killing of protected birds in Mizieb and throughout Malta: here.

8 thoughts on “Rare birds shot in Malta

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