Malta – Senior Hunting Official caught hunting illegally ‘but will not be expelled’.

FKNK high official allegedly caught hunting illegally at the Foresta 2000 Bird Sanctuary; BirdLife Malta demands suspension of hunting; FKNK refuses to expel hunter.

 

 
Edwin Vella, identified as a high-ranking FKNK official, caught hunting illegally by BirdLife Malta inside the Foresta 2000 Bird Sanctuary.
 

Environment NGO BirdLife Malta has demanded the suspension of spring hunting as a third hunter was allegedly caught hunting illegally at the Foresta 2000 Bird Sanctuary.

According to BLM, hunter Edwin Vella – who was arraigned in court with urgency yesterday evening – is also a senior FKNK official.

Despite the hunting federation’s repeated statements they will not tolerate any illegalities and any hunters caught doing so will have their membership revoked, the FKNK was now refusing to expel Vella..

Farrugia went on to add one was only listening to BirdLife Malta’s version of events. But when asked to relay his version of events, Farrugia repeated that Vella will remain a member of FKNK and hung up.

Vella was photographed hunting illegally by BirdLife Malta, who will be calling on government to put an immediate end to the current spring hunting season.

BirdLife will also call on the FKNK to resign their place on the Hunting Derogation Monitoring Board.

“This season is completely out of control, with bag limits and quotas not being respected or supervised and the police unable to cope with the number of hunters and scale of abuse,” BLM said.

Its executive director, Steve Micklewright, said that with an FKNK caught hunting illegally in a protected area “demands that immediate action be taken to prevent the situation spiraling further out of control”.

“We will demand that suspension of the hunting season is discussed at Tuesday’s Hunting Derogation Board meeting,” Micklewright said.

BirdLife will also call on the FKNK to resign their place on the Hunting Derogation Monitoring Board because their position is no longer tenable in the light of this most recent incident.

“An organization that includes people who flagrantly disregard the law among its officials can clearly not be trusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the conditions of the spring derogation are respected and abuses curtailed,” Micklewright said.

BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager, Nicholas Barbara, said that the incident raised some serious questions about the sincerity and credibility of the FKNK’s statements that it will not tolerate any illegal hunting by its members, and the organisation’s self-purported ability to police its members’ activities during the hunting season.

“The FKNK claim to have marshals in the field supervising the hunting season, but we have not seen any. It is also high time the FKNK published records of the number and type of any hunting and trapping offences committed by their members and what action the FKNK has taken in each case,” Barbara added.

As for the incident itself, BirdLife said that it clearly demonstrates the invaluable role of photographic and video evidence gathering by BirdLife staff and Spring Watch camp volunteers in detecting and securing prosecutions for illegal hunting offences. “Without the work done by our local staff and international volunteers, I have no doubt that the majority of illegal hunting offences would go unpunished,” said Mr Barbara.

Rather than supporting BirdLife Malta’s efforts to end illegal hunting, the FKNK has consistently called into question the authenticity of video and photographic evidence documenting illegal hunting offences in the Maltese countryside.

Commenting on evidence showing Chris Gauci and a second accused man, Carl Borg, hunting inside Foresta 2000 Bird Sanctuary, a moderator on the FKNK’s internet forum questioned whether photos and video of the two men hunting in Foresta 2000 Bird Sanctuary was genuine.

“It would be interesting to know whether the two men accused are members of the FKNK, and if so, what action has been taken,” Barbara said

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