BirdLife Malta was today called upon to rescue another illegally shot protected bird, this time round a Grey Heron (Russett Griż).
The bird was found bleeding and unable to fly in a farmhouse in Żejtun after having been shot in the proximity. It was retrieved by BirdLife Malta staff and Raptor Camp volunteers who are at the moment patrolling Malta’s countryside to monitor illegal hunting at the peak of the raptor migration. BirdLife Malta officials rushed it to the vet who certified it as having at least one shotgun pellet which shattered the bone in its right wing.
About this latest illegal act during this year’s autumn hunting season, BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana commented: “This is the twentieth protected bird shot following the shooting of Black Storks, Honey Buzzards, Night Herons and Bee-eaters. It is unacceptable and a disgrace that not only are these illegalities happening, but that the Government has a nonchalant attitude towards what is happening. We have been asking for a suspension of the hunting season for weeks with the Government passing the buck and not being able to do what is right. We demand the Government to act now and suspend the season till mid-October. Only this can help the enforcement so that the protected migrating birds can arrive safely to their destinations when flying over Malta.”
The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) is a common migratory bird at this time of year. Normally travelling in flocks, the Grey Heron is a bird of large dimensions and the largest heron species seen in the Maltese Islands. All across Europe it is found in both urban and rural areas making it a very familiar sight to the general public, including many Maltese who from time to time choose Europe as their holiday destination.
Read the Maltese version of the press release here. Footage of the retrieval of the injured heron and its examination by the vet can be seen here.