Malta – The Committee againsts Bird Slaughter reported 330 shots fired during hunting curfew

MALTA-TRAPPING 

Police officers dismantling nets used for the illegal trapping of quals in Bingemma.

These figures come less than 24 hours after BirdLife Malta said volunteers recorded more than 9,000 shots in three hours on Thursday morning in eight different locations.

The hunting federation pooh-poohed these figures, saying BirdLife was “desperate and resorting to report sensationalised tales and gross inaccuracies”.

Since 9,000 shots were recorded on Thursday, then, “presumably”, the national hunting quota must have been reached, the Hunting and Trapping Federation said sarcastically.

One had to take into consideration the multiple recording of the same shots, that as many as 40 shots could be fired at a fast high-flying turtle dove without a hit, shots being fired at out-of-range birds and activity at clay-pigeon shooting ranges, it added.

The federation said it was committed to do its utmost and use all its resources to stop any illegal acts but was also determined to stand up for the rights of the absolute majority of its law-abiding members. CABS reported that 88 shots were registered near Imta?leb yesterday, adding that a volunteer filmed a hunter stashing his weapon in his hide.

When the police arrived on site, the man ran away and escaped, the committee said.

Five live protected birds, including a nightjar and several waders, six shot marsh harriers, a dead cuckoo and two illegally-operated electronic quail decoy devices were seized by the police, it added.

A team patrolling the valley between Mtarfa and Dwejra Lines made a particularly shocking find when it came across the carcasses of six marsh harriers, that had been dead for a few weeks, and a freshly-shot cuckoo lying in a field, CABS said.

Over the weekend, two bird guard patrols were deployed in the Bin?emma and Ba?rija areas to collect evidence of an illegal operation of electronic decoy devices for quail and located 16 of these banned gadgets.

Close to one of the devices, the volunteers discovered a 20-metre long mist net and a 40-metre long ground net used in the illegal trapping of quail. The net was surrounded by six cages with live quail decoys and, only a few metres away in a small garden, an aviary was discovered with several protected species and some 20 unringed turtle doves and song thrushes, the committee said.

Police and planning authority officers dismantled the nets and freed a robin, a dunlin, two little stints and a nightjar, an acutely endangered species, it added.

The Animal Welfare Department was called in after five dogs were found chained up and severely undernourished, the committee said.

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