BirdLife Malta has today called on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to get enforcement in order after four White Storks were killed within hours of arriving in Malta.
The killing of these White Storks is not an isolated incident. It shows the extent of widespread illegal hunting. For years BirdLife Malta has called on the PM to set up a wildlife crime unit and the reluctance to implement this is incomprehensible.
It is ironic that at the moment the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) and Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri are proposing a change in the law on wild rabbit hunting that starts from 1st June. They want to allow hunting to be done wherever the hunter pleases rather than stating the exact private land on which the hunter can hunt. This weakens the law and will allow it to be a stronger smokescreen than what it is presently. Due to this wild rabbit season, hunters could easily target protected birds. We call on the Ornis Committee not to allow the licence to shoot wild rabbits to be amended and weakened.
The coming weeks will see hundreds of birds of prey migrating over Malta and once again the authorities will be asked to get their act in order. BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana stated that the idea of self-regulation has failed and the Prime Minister has the obligation to act fast. He added that BirdLife Malta will be reporting the incidents to its partners abroad.
BirdLife Malta’s Council will be meeting urgently to see what appropriate actions should be taken, but the killing of White Storks – a bird linked with motherhood and good luck – is a scandal and shameful.
Read the Maltese version of the press release here.