Malta: Honey Buzzards shot as hunters warn against abuse

BirdLife Malta ‘confirms’ shot protected birds during the first two weeks of autumn hunting. 

Injured Honey Buzzard (Photo: BirdLife Malta)
At least three Honey Buzzards were shot leaving one injured and two dead, during the first two weeks of the autumn hunting season, BirdLife Malta said. The news comes as Kaccaturi San Ubertu issued a statement reminding hunters of the 7pm hunting curfew as from today until 7 October. It also warned that it will not tolerate any abuse.

“BirdLife Malta has confirmed that it has received its first shot protected bird for this year’s autumn hunting season. [Yesterday] afternoon BirdLife Malta’s staff recovered an injured Honey Buzzard from a field in Siggiewi after it was alerted by a member of public,” BirdLife said.An X-ray image revealed nine pellets in the bird’s body and a fracture to its left wing. The bird has been passed over to the ALE for rehabilitation.

X-ray image reveals nine pellets in the bird’s body

In a separate incident, birdwatchers have reported seeing at least two other Honey Buzzards shot down over tal-Virtu’ area limits of Rabat in the evening. The matter was reported to the police.Honey Buzzards are listed as Annex I species, protected by the Birds Directive, meaning they are a subject to special conservation measures and are not huntable anywhere in the EU. Honey Buzzards are one of the most common targets of illegal hunting in Malta during this time of the year when thousands of these birds are migrating from Europe to Africa.During its morning statement, KSU said it had issued a directive to all its members to be watchful for illegalities and to report any incident they might witness to the police on telephone number 119.

“Apart from reporting illegal hunting activity, as major stakeholders in the countryside, hunters are also to report any illegal dumping, damage to rubble walls, damage to trees or any other illegal activity,” KSU said. KSU said it was a pleasure to see hunters  out with their binoculars and cameras along with bird watchers.

Honey Buzzards over Buskett (Photo: Nyal Xuere/KSU secretary)

 “It is in every law abiding hunter’s interest to weed out any law breakers who only serve to discredit legal hunting in Malta,” KSU said.“KSU urges mutual respect from hunters and other countryside users and reminds about the legal rights to private property and the laws related to our countryside.”

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