The Maltese government chose to open the hunting season in spring even though the Turtle Dove has been declared as a vulnerable species and although it is known that there is a strong presence of individuals who kill protected birds.
Despite reports and scientific arguments that show that this bird is in danger due to an extraordinary decline, the Ornis Committee has chosen to ignore all this and suggest another spring hunting season. Malta remains the only country in the European Union that allows the killing of turtle doves during spring.
Year after another the spring hunting season is also abused and a number of protected birds are shot at and killed. Last year the Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat chose to close the hunting season following the killing of a protected bird. This year protected birds have already been targeted and shot at. Thus the Prime Minister should be consistent and do the same.
As reported in a local newspaper this morning, just a few days after the opening of the hunting season, a protected bird has been killed. This is a clear sign that the Prime Minister should take steps and ensure that spring hunting is closed without delay. BirdLife Malta currently has observer groups in the Maltese and Gozitan countryside who are overseeing the hunting activity and it is more than obvious that as protected birds start appearing, they would end up being hunted and shot at.