Malta – 13. 04. 2023
CABS accuses government of "eco-corruption" over turtle dove hunting saying hunters have already opened "unofficial" season to kill the species.
Despite a pending court case over the shooting of turtle doves in spring hunters have already opened their own „unofficial“ hunting season for the threatened species, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) said today. The organisation stated that in the last week its field teams have observed "hundreds" of irresponsible hunters targeting turtle doves everywhere across Malta and Gozo.
CABS pointed out that quail – the only species which may be legally hunted at present – are typically be found in open agricultural pasture while the overwhelming majority of active hunters have been observed hunting in forested areas – the typical habitat associated with the passage of turtle doves. "The large number of gunshots fired from these woodlands lets us fear that a significant amount of the planned „quota“ for turtle doves has already been exhausted before the season has even opened yet", CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said. The conservationist continued saying that while quail hunting requires a driven hunt with dogs, CABS observed that most hunters were shooting from static hides without dogs and close to aviaries filled with live turtle dove decoys. "These individuals clearly want to kill turtle doves or other protected species, but definitely not quail", Hirschfeld said adding that some oft them were observed wearing masks to avoid identification.
CABS President Karl-Heinz Kreutzer accused the government and the Ornis Committee of deliberately neglecting the science and common-sense in favour of appeasing the members of a lobby group whose only aim is to satisfy their selfish passion by killing as many birds as possible. "All available studies clearly show that the european turtle dove is rapidly heading towards extinction. While most EU countries – including Spain and France – drew the consequences from this and have suspended turtle dove hunting throughout the year the government in Valletta continues to defend the undefendable to please their armed electorate with this kind of eco-corruption. We therefore call on all remaining responsible hunters – regardless of the court decision expected tomorrow afternoon - to restrain from turtle dove hunting in spring and autumn and contribute to the survival of this iconic species", Kreutzer said.