Printer-friendly version

PRESS RELEASE 28. September 2018

Birdwatchers report more hunting abuses, criticise Junior Minister Clint Camilleri
Efforts made are a delicate flower

Malta. Over the last three weeks teams of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) deployed in Malta and Gozo have observed or filmed a total of 15 incidents of illegal hunting of protected bird species. According to CABS the cases include 4 ´successful´ killings and 11 birds which were either observed being shot at or seen flying with obvious gunshot wounds. Among the birds affected are 7 Honey Buzzard, 5 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel and 1 Grey Heron. Most of the incidents reported by CABS were observed in the Girgenti and Dingli area. Another poaching hotspot is Wied Qoton near Safi, an area especially known for the shooting of birds of prey and the widespread use of illegal bird calling machines for Quail and protected waders, CABS said.

Shot Honey BuzzardShot Honey BuzzardYesterday Birdlife Malta reported that they have received 26 shot protected birds since the beginning of the autumn hunting season. Together with CABS observations the total number of confirmed incidents of illegal shooting of protected birds now stands at 41. “Taking into account the massive unknown figure of unreported cases it can be assumed that a three figure number of protected birds has been killed by Maltese poachers this month alone”, CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said. "After years of improvement this number is now pointing towards a slight increase in illegalities".

“This shows that the efforts made in the last 15 years are a delicate flower which will quickly wilt if the government continues to fail to set up proper enforcement, especially in these known hotspot areas”, the conservationist said. Hirschfeld also said that he was “bewildered” to read that Clint Camilleri, the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for hunting, retweeted a Facebook post from CABS to back up his insupportable and unfunded claim that “BirdLife Malta are inflating the few illegalities & are ignoring all positive news”. The post shared by Mr. Camilleri stated that on 14 September the CABS teams monitored a large number of Honey Buzzards roosting in Buskett without a single bird being shot. “This was a positive one-off event indeed but it had absolutely nothing to do with the cases documented by Birdlife Malta and CABS in other areas”, Hirschfeld noted concluding that it was Mr. Camilleri who inflated and misused the post made by CABS to whitewash the government´s year-long unwillingness to deal with poaching. “Mr. Camilleri has done nothing to boost up hunting enforcement and he knows very well that without the constant monitoring and reporting of CABS and Birdlife the balance sheet of the Maltese authorities would be nearly empty”.

According to CABS the key problems are the lack of resources, trained officers and little government support for the ALE, the police unit responsible to fight poaching, which last week saw its 4th head inspector being transferred within 4 years.

Contact for more information: CABS President Heinz Schwarze, fon +49 228 665521 or +49 179 480 3805 or Email to CABS@komitee.de