FKNK joins BirdLife in condemning shooting of Osprey
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FKNK joins BirdLife in condemning shooting of Osprey

Footage by BirdLife Malta.

Updated 8 pm.

The Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FKNK) this evening condemned the shooting of an Osprey in Salina yesterday and said such incidents could not be tolerated.

The Osprey was shot and injured at Salina bird sanctuary and has been taken to Germany for treatment. Two men were arrested in connection with the case.

The hunters' federation said this particular species was the subject of various initiatives in Europe aimed at restoring its conservation status. Therefore, anyone who hindered its rehabilitation could not, in any manner, be considered as a conservationist.

The federation said it applauded the timely action taken for this bird to be rehabilitated in the hope that it would be eventually released back into the wild.

"The FKNK applauds this timely action and the participants, since it is the real action aimed at saving the bird thus avoiding its use as an anti-hunting object by certain entities."

The federation added that "there is no more room for such illegalities and the FKNK hereby once again calls on its members to watch out for any illegalities and report them immediately to the ALE section of the Malta Police or to the FKNK."

It added that if the persons arrested in connection with this act were convicted by a court, their FKNK membership would be cancelled.

"It is time that every one of the thousands of legal hunters and trappers who aspire to regain their legal and traditional hunting and trapping passions to stand up against these few remaining diehard criminals so that their actions against the natural environment are curtailed once and for all," the FKNK said.

The bird, which is a protected species, was shot while it was eating a fish it had just caught from the salt pans.

Policemen from the Administrative Law Enforcement Unit arrested two men in connection with the shooting.

The bird was examined and given first aid by vets and arrangements were made to send the bird for treatment abroad.

Most of the Ospreys seen on migration in Malta come from Sweden, Finland and Germany. They fly over Malta on their way to Africa, where they spend their winter.

The Osprey will be rehabilitated at the Kirchwald Bird of Prey Rehab Center near Koblenz.

The bird was sent to Germany quickly thanks to the efforts made by the police, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, the government vet, Air Malta and CABS in Germany.

BirdLife Malta said the Osprey had a numbered metal ring identifying it as a bird from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. The bird was ringed as a chick in its nest on the 25th June this year, as part of a conservation project by the BirdLife partner in Germany, NABU, together with the Forestry Commission, Nature Conservation Authorities, Power Line Companies and around 200 volunteers.

It said that it received a call at around 2.15 pm. yesterday from a birdwatcher who reported that an Osprey had flown into the Salina Bird Sanctuary. Shortly afterwards, BirdLife received a report that a shot had been fired at the bird. BirdLife Malta immediately informed the ALE and sent teams to the Bird Sanctuary to search for the bird.

The injured Osprey was found after it had struggled in the water and managed to ground itself on some vegetation adjacent to the walls of the salt pans. BirdLife Malta Campaigns Coordinator Geoffrey Saliba went into the water to rescue the bird before he handed it over to the ALE.

“This Osprey was shot in a Bird Sanctuary, in broad daylight, next to a main road and surrounded by residential areas, minutes after it arrived” said Mr Saliba.

“This is outrageous but this is the fate many protected species meet when they come to Malta. We welcome the ALE’s apprehension of two illegal hunters suspected to be implicated in this crime, and hope they will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law if found guilty.”

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