Birdwatch News Archive
A montage of recent hunting victims from Malta (from top left): one of yesterday's injured flamingos, a Grey Heron with a gunshot injury, and the Night Heron shot just a few metres from the Prime Minister's residence. Photos: Luke Massey/BirdLife Malta.
Maltese hunter shoots flamingos
Posted on: 04 Oct 2012
A flock of Greater Flamingos are the latest victims of Malta's killing coasts this autumn, as large numbers of protected bird species are indisicriminately and illegally shot.
The flock of about 40 flamingos were following the coastline to their roost at St Paul's Islands, when they were shot at by an illegal hunter (possibly with others) from the shore at Qawra, within full view of passersby on 3 October, BirdLife Malta has reported.
The flock was reported as flying overhead across Salina Bay, when up to three birds were thought to have been killed. Two injured juveniles landed, but the three dead birds fell into the sea; a third injured bird was later observed still flying low around Mellieha Bay. BirdLife has quickly passed the information on to the police and is awaiting developments. Following the traumatic disruption of their flight, the remaining birds headed towards Gozo to the north of the bay.
BirdLife's team on the ground also saw a flock of seven grey herons at Salina Bay, one of which also had a noticeable gunshot injury. The team have since been trying to catch the birds to help them heal and rehabilitate. BirdLife Malta has recovered the corpses of 40 individual protected birds over the last month, and also seen up to 200 protected species being shot at or in flight with gunshot injuries.
On the Gozo News website, the BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager, Nicholas Barbara, who immediately went to the scene, was quoted as saying: "This is yet another example of how illegal hunting is widespread and not isolated cases as claimed by the authorities. The arrival of rare birds in Malta, like these Greater Flamingos, should attract tourists; instead it attracts poachers with guns.
"These figures only scrape the surface of the true extent of illegal hunting in Malta. The authorities do not publish the number of shot protected birds they receive and many more are never found as the evidence is destroyed by the poachers. It appears that nowhere in Malta is immune to illegal hunting. Only yesterday a BirdLife team recovered a shot Night Heron a few meters from the Prime Minister’s residence."
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