The massacre, this morning, of four Greater Flamingos which were illegally shot down by a hunter at Qawra Point amplifies the past requests by BirdLife Malta for this area to be declared a no-hunting zone.
Four protected Greater Flamingos illegally shot down in the area this morning
The small islet is very well placed for migratory birds to find refuge on and with its vicinity to BirdLife Malta’s Salina Nature Reserve, birds coming in or out of the reserve have been targeted by hunters in this area. It is also close to the residential area of Qawra and in fact many had complained about the continuous illegal use of electronic callers, day and night. Apart from the fact that during the last months of the swimming season, bathers in the area feel unsafe knowing that just a few metres away hunters are aiming their guns at water birds while they are swimming.
These are the main reasons why BirdLife Malta has for the past years insisted with the relevant authorities that this becomes a protected area and a no-hunting zone. BirdLife Malta is aware that progress had been made recently on this, with a guardianship deed agreement also presented to it to take over the area, however this had to be refused until hunting is banned from the area.
With the illegal killing of birds being highlighted in the European Commission’s legal proceedings on Malta’s derogations, today’s massacre of Greater Flamingos will not go unnoticed, and action will be expected.
In view of all this BirdLife Malta is calling on Prime Minister Robert Abela to protect Qawra Point and the birds that fly over it by declaring it a no-hunting area. BirdLife Malta is expecting this as the public is outraged at the illegal killing problem in our country.
BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana stated: “While these Flamingos were being shot down at Qawra Point, children and families were at our Għadira Nature Reserve enjoying the beauty of nature in one of the few bird sanctuaries on the island. We need to see action over and above words, now. There is no doubt that Malta needs to solve the illegal killing problem, and this can be done by designating more bird sanctuaries and restarting the verification process of stuffed bird collections that benefited from past amnesties.
We would also like to thank the Environmental Protection Unit (EPU) of the Malta Police Force, Qawra Police and the Armed Forces of Malta for this morning’s intervention. Their efficient and coordinated effort following the report lodged by BirdLife Malta volunteers who witnessed the Flamingos being shot has led to the arrest of the alleged perpetrator of today’s crime.”
Read the Maltese version of the press release here. Watch a video summing up this morning’s events here.