Maltese hunter convicted of shooting eagle banned for life as a member of the Hunting Federation (FKNK).

Today the Maltese Hunters Federation, the FKNK, announced a life long ban for one of their members who admitting in court last week he had shot a Short-toed eagle. The Maltese Hunters Federation is to be congratulated for taking such prompt action and at the same time making this decision public which demonstrates the FKNK are taking the matter very seriously. What a pity such transparency is not followed by shooting organisations in the UK.

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Short-toed eagle (snake eagle) circaetus gallicus.

The hunter Allan Farrugia, 24, of Birkirkara,  admitted in court last Friday that he had shot an eagle and possessing 75 stuffed protected birds has been banned for life by the hunting federation.

His case received widespread publicity because 15 protected eagles had been confirmed killed by hunters in recent days.

An injured booted eagle that survived the onslaught was yesterday sent to Sicily yesterday for rehabilitation.

Mr Farrugia killed a short-toed eagle last Wednesday.

The FKNK said that it urgently convened its disciplinary board following the court verdict.

It slapped Mr Farrugia with a lifetime ban due to the “extremely serious consequences this has caused in terms of wildlife destruction and the ongoing efforts of the FKNK to curtail all hunting illegalities”.

The FKNK also noted that the species targeted was under pressure from “man-made obstacles and other farming practices, and thus does not enjoy a conservation status that can withstand hunting”. Targeting a single short-toed eagle was a big blow to conservation efforts across Europe to safeguard the species and increase the population, the FKNK said. The federation also took note of the fact that Mr Farrugia was a self-confessed repeat offender.

The court had fined Mr Farrugia €4,600, banned him from hunting for three years and confiscated two guns and his car, which was deemed to be an accessory to the offence.

Although eagles were targeted at several locations around Malta and Gozo, the FKNK and the Parliamentary Secretariat for Animal Rights describe the shootings as “isolated” incidents.

There were no confirmed reports of protected birds being killed yesterday.

Last Friday, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Animal Rights published amendments to the Conservation of Wild Birds Regulations in a Legal Notice. These amendments had been prepared in the preceding weeks in consultation with key stakeholders.

The law changes in Malta stipulate stiffer fines for hunting offences, including a doubling of the minimum fines.

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