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.
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.
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 www.birdlifemalta.org.
- Maltese criminals kill rare birds (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Birdlife warns it may leave hunting derogation monitoring board (timesofmalta.com)
- Hooded hunters to be taken to court (timesofmalta.com)
- FKNK cancels hooded hunter’s membership (timesofmalta.com)
- The birds illegally shot in Malta (bbc.co.uk)
- Maltese speak out against bird poaching (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Michigan men charged for illegal hunting in Montana (minbcnews.com)
- Wild turkeys returning to Windsor-Essex (metronews.ca)
- Drones Keep a Watchful Eye on Illegal Hunting (livescience.com)