Three herons found shot in first week of hunting season - BirdLife

Three herons found shot in first week of hunting season - BirdLife

'Zero tolerance is now zero action,' fumes BirdLife activist

Updated 11.05am - FKNK CEO given key international post

At least three herons have been illegally shot in the first week of the autumn hunting season, BirdLife said on Saturday.

Two of the birds were brought to BirdLife by members of the public while the third was recovered by Administrative Law Enforcement officials in Ħal Far, a spokesman for the organisation said.

“A fisherman found a grey heron adrift at sea on Friday and brought it to us,” an eNGO representative told Times of Malta. “A medical examination found that it has lead pellets in its body and a broken wing.”

The bird is expected to make a recovery.

The second bird handed to BirdLife, a night heron, was discovered by a woman on her farm in Żejtun last Sunday, the spokesman added. Its injuries were too serious and it had to be put down.

At least 47 protected birds have been reported shot this year – 20 more than in the same period of 2017.

BirdLife Malta say that there is a good chance that the number of protected birds shot this year will reach levels last seen in 2012. The eNGO’s appeals for the autumn hunting season start date to be moved back by six weeks was ignored by the government, and the five-month season began as planned on September 1.

Animal Rights parlimentary secretary Clint Camilleri, who is himself a hunter, has pledged a zero tolerance approach to hunting crimes. But those words ring hollow with bird conservation activists, who say the government is turning a blind eye to illegalities.

Just last month, a flock of 18 storks which landed in Malta vanished from sight, with at least three carcasses recovered. A man has been charged with having shot the protected birds.

In a tweet on Saturday morning, BirdLife Malta conservation manager Nicholas Barbara slammed the Prime Minister, saying Joseph Muscat’s “zero tolerance is now zero action”.

The hunting season runs until January 31. 

FKNK CEO given key international post

In a separate statement, the hunters' federation FKNK announced that its CEO Lino Farrugia has been made the vice-president for the Mediterranean region of the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation in Europe.

FACE's Mediterranean region includes Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Monaco and Malta. 

Mr Farrugia had led the FKNK to join FACE back in 1987 and has since served as the local lobby group's representative on the FACE board. He and FKNK president Joseph Perici Calascione are the longest-serving delegates on the FACE board. 

"I am honoured to have been entrusted with this post by FACE," Mr Farrugia said. "I welcome this challenge with determination". 

Mr Farrugia said he would work to ensure hunting and trapping continued across the Mediterranean "in a sustainable manner and in accordance with the traditional diversity of each country". 

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