Malta: Police ordered to investigate BirdLife over possession of protected birds

A magistrate has ordered the Police Commissioner to follow up a hunters’ federation FKNK’s report that Birdlife Malta was involved in the illegal possession of the dead and injured protected birds that it had recovered and being cared for after being shot.


Politics rather than common sense rules in Malta, hunters kill protected birds, no issue, BirdLife members protect and care but are then investigated-for what, doing the right thing?

The case dates back to October 2012, when BirdLife issued a press release after a spate of poaching incidents saw it recover seven injured protected birds in just two days.

But the FKNK took issue with a photograph which showed six BirdLife members and the seven birds, and filed a report asking the police to investigate the people photographed over the illegal possession of protected birds.

The police, however, chose not to pursue the case, arguing that while it was clear that the people photographed were technically in possession of protected birds, there was no intention to commit a crime. BirdLife is regularly informed of poaching incidents, and any injured birds it recovers are handed over to a veterinary surgeon for treatment, whereas dead protected birds are handed over to the police.

FKNK CEO Lino Farrugia and president Joe Perici Calascione subsequently filed a court application against the Police Commissioner, insisting that the police should proceed with investigations, and Magistrate Aaron Bugeja upheld their claim.

The magistrate said that he had no doubt that BirdLife members were passionate about wild birds, but added that if the photograph was taken in Malta and no proof was presented that the people involved had the right to be in possession of the protected birds, then there were grounds for an investigation.

2 comments to Malta: Police ordered to investigate BirdLife over possession of protected birds

  • Brian Robertson

    What absolute madness. It must be like living in a twilight zone over there with some Alice in Wonderland justice thrown in.

    Malta needs to be ridiculed throughout Europe for this decision. I’m aware of the great reluctance to campaign against Maltese tourism but when you get this level of hunting fascism surely it has to be considered.

    Editor’s Comment. Not much chance of any change especially when the Royals pay homage by visiting the Island this week.

  • harrier man

    Crazy beyond belief.

    Editor’s Comment. Not really its called politics and we have the same situation here in the UK, on most if not all moorland where red grouse are shot to death each year by members of the British establishment, in the name of sport!