Over the past couple of days an extraordinary large influx of migrating birds, especially raptors, over the Maltese Islands, which the Federation for Hunting & Conservation – Malta (FKNK) said in a statement, it can confirm as unprecedented for April in living memory.
All day yesterday, particularly towards the evening, thousands of honey buzzards, but also harriers, kestrels, some kites and other raptor species could be observed over most country areas of Malta and Gozo, FKNK said.
The FKNK said “it is extremely proud of its members and their behaviour. These genuine hunters enjoyed the marvellous scenery notwithstanding also witnessing a very poor April hunting season with regards to turtle dove and quail migration after four years of being unjustly deprived of their traditional socio-cultural passion of spring hunting.”
The FKNK went on to say it “also takes note that the CABS’ (Committee Against Bird Slaughter) small team, at present in Malta, have remarked and reported “real progress after some 200 birds of prey in Mizieb were able to fly off unharmed despite the presence of some 50 persons with shotguns.” This statement just needs one correction – this morning at Mizieb, an FKNK Hunting Reserve, the genuine hunters in the area amounted closer to 300.”
The CABS team, this time round glaringly unaccompanied by BirdLife teams, also reported some illegalities, which the FKNK said it can confirm as having occurred.
The FKNK said, “with the aid of its thousands of members plus its commissioned security services Company, and with the full collaboration of the police force, that has to be applauded for its strict control over all matters surrounding this derogated season, has also lodged official detailed reports about confirmed illegalities, the vast majority of which occurred in the hours when hunting was not permitted. These reports will form an integral part of a report regarding the application of this spring’s derogation, which the FKNK will eventually also submit to the EU Commission for its consideration.”
The FKNK stated that it “reiterates and unreservedly warns that it will not allow any criminal who persists in shooting on protected bird species to mar, in any manner, the efforts of genuine hunters. The FKNK also repeats its warning that anyone who is arraigned on cases of illegal shooting on protected species and who happens to be within its members’ ranks, that such person will have his/her membership suspended with immediate effect and if found guilty by the competent Court will have such membership cancelled, without which membership a hunting licence is unobtainable.”
FKNK concluded by saying that “This BirdLife International and Malta statement issued this afternoon, only continues to highlight the fact that these entities persist in tactics of confrontation using misleading information rather than embark on methods of collaboration with the FKNK and the Police so as to reach a common goal. The FKNK would have expected BirdLife to applaud government on the success of the application of the derogation for this spring hunting season. Finally, the FKNK is more than certain that the truth will continue to surface and that the International sector will realise that it has other, more serious and pressing ornithological priorities for conserving Europe’s natural heritage.”
Photo: Osprey by Paul Grech