Despite an environmentally-positive budget, no commitment in terms of bird protection

October 10, 2017 2:44 pm

In reaction to the 2018 budget the Government has just announced, BirdLife Malta notes that although the Government is introducing positive measures which benefit certain aspects of the environment, it still has to prove itself where the protection of biodiversity is concerned, specifically bird protection.

Another six injured birds recovered in three days for a total of 32 known illegally shot protected birds

Measures such as those related to waste, the use of electric cars or gas-powered vehicles and the initiative to plant more trees in Malta are all positive. We also commend the Government’s plan to set up the ‘Ambjent Malta’ agency to protect Natura 2000 sites. BirdLife Malta looks ahead with enthusiasm to actively participate in the development of this new agency.

However, BirdLife Malta cannot ignore the fact that whilst in other environmental aspects this Government has shown the courage to take decisions, with regard to biodiversity protection – especially the protection of birds – it still has to prove that it can be taken seriously and make its position clear, taking a step forward from its current stance which seems to be that it does not care at all.

Not even a Short-eared Owl was spared! This bird was recovered from the vicinity of St Edward’s College in Birgu on Sunday 8th October (Photo by BirdLife Malta)

We are witnessing this in very clear terms during this year’s autumn hunting season, with the Prime Minister seemingly reluctant to take steps on this matter despite the growing number of illegal hunting casualties that we have already seen.

In fact, in the past days another six injured protected birds were retrieved and all of them were confirmed illegally shot by a vet.

The birds collected during the last three days were a Hoopoe from Miżieb, two Common Kestrels and a Honey Buzzard that were recovered by the police, a Yellow-legged Gull collected from the Freeport in Birżebbuġa, and even a Short-eared Owl that was found once again in the vicinity of St Edward’s College in Vittoriosa.

With these six new birds, four of which were retrieved in just one day last Sunday, the total of known illegally shot protected birds recovered up to now this season has now risen to 32. This is the worst season in the past years. The fact that the Government remains silent and is taking no action whatsoever goes to show that where illegal hunting is concerned, this Government does not care at all.

Read the Maltese version of the press release here. You can also click here for an updated photographic list of the 32 known illegally shot protected birds this season to date.