Malta Update: Second flock of flamingos gunned down as poachers take to the sea
The shocking actions of illegal hunters continues in Malta. The following press release from Birdlife Malta explains all:
Second flock of flamingos gunned down as poachers take to the sea
9th October 2012, Malta – For the second time in less than a week illegal hunters have shot at and killed at least two Greater Flamingos flying off the coast of Malta, this time hunting the protected birds at sea, while BirdLife Malta separately received three more shot protected birds recovered at sea over the weekend.
On Sunday afternoon a flock of at least 60 flamingos was spotted flying low off the coast opposite Maghtab. Within a minute, hunters on a speedboat within one kilometre of the coast were seen shooting at the flock, killing two birds, which fell into the sea and were collected by the men on the boat.
Hunting at sea is permitted for 13 species of duck and goose between 1st October and 31st January. The birds that are protected on land are also protected at sea and it is illegal to hunt within 3 kilometres of the shore.
BirdLife Malta received three more shot protected birds on Saturday, a Honey Buzzard, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Cory’s Shearwater, all recovered at sea. The Cory’s Shearwater, which was found with broken wings and injuries to its beak, was amongst another three shot dead at sea in the same area. Fishermen on a boat had earlier spotted three hunters shooting at any birds that flew overhead.
When the first flamingos were shot at Qawra last Wednesday the ALE had confirmed that they didn’t even have a boat out patrolling and weren’t able to help with retrieving the injured birds from the sea. BirdLife learned that both the injured juvenile flamingos rescued last week and sent to the government veterinary services have since died of their gunshot injuries.
BirdLife Malta teams have continued to witness the shooting of protected birds in several locations around Malta, with Barn Swallows, two Honey Buzzards, a Hobby and a Kestrel all shot at or shot down at the weekend. Video footage of incidents has been passed to the police.
“On the eve of a general election, hunting in Malta seems to be spiralling out of control on land and at sea. Despite inadequate law enforcement, a trapping season will open within the next 12 days, stretching the already limited ALE even further,” said Nicholas Barbara, BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager.
BirdLife Malta encourages members of the public to report illegal hunting incidents to the ALE and inform BirdLife. Instructions on how to file a report can be found at www.birdlifemalta.org
For more information contact:
Nicholas Barbara, BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager on + (356) 79255697,
Office: + (356) 21347644-5