Spring Watch 2014 – League Against Cruel Sports Supports

April 18, 2014 5:48 pm

We have been joined this year at Spring Watch by the League Against Cruel Sports, a charity from the UK working to end cruelty inflicted on animals in the name of sport.  They are here in Malta to help raise awareness for the campaign by the Coalition to stop spring hunting.  Joining us was the League’s Chief Executive Joe Duckworth; Vice President Bill Oddie; Trustees Charlie Moores and Lawrie Phipps; Media Whizz Mark McCormick and two Investigators Paul and Ed.  

The League are particularly interested in the spring hunting campaign as they are witnessing firsthand the devastating effects the Maltese spring hunting season is having on breeding birds in the UK.  Many of the breeding birds in the UK fly over Malta on their way back from their wintering grounds in Africa, and large proportions do not make it as they are targets for hunting here in Malta.  The Turtle Dove is one of two species which is legally allowed to be hunted during the spring in Malta and the population of Turtle Doves in the UK has fallen by 74% from 1995 – 2009, partly due to the migrating birds being completely obliterated as they fly over Malta.  

While they were the here the league visited two of our nature reserves to speak to some of our staff and local volunteers, to find out about personal experiences with hunters and to see some of Malta’s migrants in some of the few safe havens.  A visit to Foresta 2000 was made to release a Collared Dove which had sustained a minor gunshot injury.  The dove seemed to have made a good recovery, however when Bill released the bird, it did not fly.  The dove is now back in rehabilitation for a little more rest and recovery and will hopefully be successfully released later this week.

The League also paid a visit to the Shadow Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Charlo Bonnici MP.  The meeting proved positive with the focus being on the referendum to ban spring hunting.  They also conducted interviews with members of the public in Valletta, both locals and tourists, to find out opinions on spring hunting.  These interviews received a range of responses, most of which were in favour of stopping spring hunting, which is brilliant to hear.  

To get a complete insight into the impacts of spring hunting on the Maltese countryside, the League joined us of several early morning and afternoon shifts.  It was great to see such enthusiasm to get up at 5am and join our teams out in the field. The extra manpower also meant we were able to have teams in more locations, which is extremely helpful.  They were a huge asset, filming some great footage which demonstrates the scale of the situation here in Malta.  

It has been fantastic having the League Against Cruel Sports with us this week.  Their support has been hugely appreciated, and we hope that their work will help to raise international awareness for the Stop Spring Hunting Campaign. Such support will hopefully help us to make the spring hunting season a thing of the past. 

Photos by Lawrie Phipps and Ella Beeson.  


You can find out more about the work of the League Against Cruel Sports via their website, Facebook page, and you can also follow them on Twitter

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.