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No hunters prosecuted for illegal hunting of Turtle Doves last spring – BLM

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No hunters prosecuted for illegal hunting of Turtle Doves in Spring 2018 - BLMBirdLife Malta has said that following an Ornis Committee meeting held yesterday to discuss enforcement plans for the upcoming spring hunting season which opens in less than a week, it emerged that not a single hunter was prosecuted last year for the illegal killing of Turtle Doves during the 2018 spring hunting derogation period.

In a statement BLM said that, “this, in spite of the fact that BirdLife Malta provided police with concrete evidence of illegal hunting – including the case involving an FKNK official who was caught on camera illegally shooting down a Turtle Dove in Mizieb.

BirdLife Malta argued that, “this adds insult to injury on hunting seasons designed to be smokescreens for the illegal killing of the red-listed Turtle Dove which is once again the case for this year’s spring hunting season.”

“Although this year’s season will supposedly be open only for Quail the dates have been extended further towards the end of April thus overlapping with the peak migration period of this vulnerable species,” the NGO said.

It stated that “last year’s results lead BirdLife Malta to believe that the 2019 season has been designed purposely to be a repeat massacre on the protected Turtle Dove.”

BirdLife Malta went on to say that “despite the closed season, this year we have already recovered 13 known illegally shot protected birds – seven of them just during the past week.”

“Following last year’s record of 114 known shot protected birds recovered, unfortunately 2019 is already promising to be another record year in terms of the illegal killing of birds in Malta,” said BLM.

In view of this BirdLife Malta said that it is once again calling on the public to report any illegalities and will, in the coming days, remind everyone about the very evident distinctions between the Common Quail and the Turtle Dove through a series of videos on its social media describing the different characteristics of these two bird species.

Illegally shot Turtle Dove during spring (Photo by Filip Wieckowski)

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