Spring Watch 2014: Access All Areas

April 26, 2014 5:26 pm

Going for a walk in the countryside is something the Maltese people should be entitled to.  However during the spring hunting season, they have to be brave to face some areas!

Standing a top the Xemxija ridge at the edge of Mizieb woodland on a spring morning, and all we can hear is continuous gunfire.  The first time you experience this, it can be quiet disturbing. Some local people are so afraid of the relentless sound of gunfire that they are reluctant to even walk their dogs in these areas, let alone try to take the time to enjoy the wildlife in spring. We spoke to a local dog-walker during one of our morning watches, and she gave us her views on hunting in Mizieb. 

In two recent episodes of “Malta – Massacre on Migration” by Chris Packham, the team visited Mizieb and discovered for themselves how difficult it can be in Malta to take a stroll in the countryside  In Thursday’s episode, Chris spoke to some families who had attempted to go camping over the Easter weekend.  The Mizieb woodland is an area of public land, and therefore is accessible to everyone.  Despite these families having the required permission to camp on the land, after a request made by a hunter, the police removed the family from the site, cutting short their special Easter trip.  Similarly, last night’s episode showed Chris and his team getting caught in a heated debate with some hunters, claiming the team were not allowed to be on the land, and that they were not allowed to film in a public area.  

Over the Easter weekend BirdLife Malta hosted an Easter Egg-citement day at Is-Simar Nature Reserve where local families were invited to picnic. Many families chose to join us in the safety of the nature reserve to enjoy the sunny Saturday with their families in peace.  

It is disappointing that the few natural places in Malta are being used so intensively for hunting that the public cannot enjoy the spring wildlife that Malta has to offer. Hopefully this can change in the near future…

Photos by Ella Beeson. Video by Rupert Masefield. 


To find out more about Chris Packham‘s work in Malta, you can visit his website or view his videos on youtube.


BirdLife Malta has been campaigning against illegal and unsustainable bird hunting on the Maltese islands for more than 50 years. If it was not for all of our work, we would not have reached the point we are at now, with the vast majority of people on Malta wanting to see spring hunting ended. Now is the time to turn that dream in to reality.
There are several ways you can help us:
  • You can help our campaign at a political level: click here to write to your MEP and ask them to support this urgent call for action to stop spring hunting in Malta.
  • Join BirdLife Malta to support our work for birds and nature in the Maltese Islands. As a member you will receive our regular members’ magazine, Bird’s Eye View, and email updates about our work. Your membership fee will help to make sure we can continue fight for birds and nature.
  • Make a donation towards our Stop Spring Hunting Campaign at http://igg.me/at/stopspringhunting  You can also help spread the word about our campaign – share this page and our video about spring hunting through Facebook and Twitter – please ask your friends and family to share and donate to our campaign if they can. #stopspringhunting

By working together we can end spring hunting on Malta forever.

The League Against Cruel Sports have been supporting Spring Watch and Raptor Camp for a number of years.  Security for this camp has been paid for by Stiftung Pro Artenvielfalt,  ensuring the safety of our volunteers.