From The Times of Malta October 17, 2001
Illegal hunting "widespread and unchecked"
The illegal shooting of protected birds of prey once again characterised the annual autumn raptor migration season, BirdLife
Illegal hunting was widespread and unchecked in many locations in Malta, not least in Gozo where bird
protection regulations seemed to be non-existent, it added.
"While this summer the British papers heralded the
comeback of the Osprey as a breeding bird in England after an absence of many years, in Malta these birds were greeted by
barrages of shots by shooters who have no respect for the laws."
At least 10 specimens were reported shot down
from various parts of the islands, the latest one being at Lunzjata, Gozo, in a built up area.
BirdLife added that
in Loch Garten, Scotland, one breeding pair of this species attracted over one million visitors per year.
another species, the Lesser Kestrel, which is one of the 24 globally threatened species in Europe, were also shot illegally
during September and October together with Marsh Harriers and Honey Buzzards. Many birds of prey were also being illegally
shot from seacraft.
"While a BirdLife International action plan to safeguard the European population of the
Lesser Kestrel is bearing good results, these are being undermined by the local illegal hunting" it said.
insisted that the government had an international obligation to protect birds which are an international heritage.
also called on the authorities to honour their obligations and address the problem of illegal hunting seriously. It was imperative
that a proper section of environmental police is set up with adequate resources to tackle illegal hunting, BirdLife said.