First week of spring hunting takes its toll on protected species

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(Birdlife Malta; 3 April 2017)

From birds of prey such as Marsh Harriers and a Common Kestrel to other smaller birds such as a Common Swift, a Barn Swallow and Hoopoes, the first week of the 2017 spring hunting season has already taken its toll on several protected species. Nothing was spared, as the total of known illegally shot birds since the start of the season on Saturday 25th March has now reached eight.

In all of the cases in which BirdLife Malta was called to assist, the birds were certified as having suffered gunshot injuries, with four of them succumbing to their injuries after they were shot down. More than half of these illegally shot birds were retrieved just over the last weekend alone from different parts of Malta and Gozo.

It is now clear from this week’s events that year after year, spring hunting seasons keep being abused, with protected birds being indiscriminately and illegally shot at and killed. Once again, an open spring hunting season is proving to be a smoke-screen for those who shoot protected birds with little or no enforcement. In view of this BirdLife Malta reiterates its call on the Government to close the 2017 spring hunting season with immediate effect.

The balance of the first week of illegalities is this: three Marsh Harriers, one Common Kestrel, one Common Swift, one Barn Swallow, and two Hoopoes – all retrieved by members of the public. Below is a chronological list of shot birds received by BirdLife Malta during the last eight days:

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