Whilst in no way intending to enter into any confrontation with the Malta Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FKNK), BirdLife Malta declares that it bases its arguments solely on facts. And the scientific facts are that the European Turtle Dove (Gamiema) status has been classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because of a significant decline in its population in recent years.
In a press conference this morning regarding this subject, FKNK confirmed BirdLife Malta’s position and arguments. Whilst shedding doubts on IUCN’s decision to list the Turtle Dove on its Red List of Threatened Species and on the timing of this decision, FKNK is now proposing to Government that the spring hunting moratorium on Turtle-doves is applied.
This means that whilst up to now it was arguing that is was not true that the species is in danger, FKNK is now agreeing on the vulnerability of the Turtle-dove.
BirdLife Malta welcomes FKNK’s change of heart and proposal with regards to the moratorium but declares that the Maltese Government should have applied the moratorium a long time ago based on the scientific facts available and should not have waited for a lobby group to pronounce itself, to take action.
One also questions what made FKNK adopt this stance, especially when in today’s press conference they also indicated that the European Commission already sent the first warning to the Maltese Government, implying that this could be the first of a series of actions leading to another court case for spring hunting to be abolished completely once and for all.
BirdLife Malta has for a long time been insisting that the case against spring hunting remains one based on a single crucial principle – that in spring, the healthiest birds would be migrating north towards their breeding grounds.
This apart from the fact that now we have scientific facts from IUCN that have not been contested. The fact that the Turtle Dove’s status has been changed because its population has declined considerably and is today in a vulnerable situation is not denied by anyone. Except, that is, for FKNK.
Besides IUCN having international credibility, one cannot also ignore the fact that FACE (The European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation) – of whom Malta’s FKNK is a member – is a partner in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In view of all this, we expect the Maltese Government and the European Commission to listen to scientific facts and take action accordingly. Today’s development could mean that there is another reason for BirdLife Malta and FKNK to cooperate further in this regard.
But facts are facts and cannot be denied, let alone ignored.
Click here to read the Maltese version.