Another artical from a local news paper -
'God forbid' there is no spring hunting - FKNKHerman Grech
Birdlife receives 180 reports of illegal trapping or hunting since March 8
The hunters' federation said it could not rule out that some of its members could cause trouble if there is no spring hunting season this year.
Accusing the European Commission of making a U-turn on Malta's 'special' agreement on hunting, FKNK general secretary Lino Farrugia told The Sunday Times: "God forbid the hunting season doesn't open this spring!"
Asked if the hunters' federation was fearing trouble if spring hunting is stopped, Mr Farrugia said: "I do not rule out anything. Everybody is stunned by what is going on. Nobody can understand our love for hunting."
The European Commission has formally asked the ECJ to declare spring hunting illegal and issue an urgent decision, or interim measures barring the Maltese authorities from allowing any hunting to take place during spring until a final decision by the court.
The decision is expected in the first few days of April. The Ornis Committee decided not to pronounce itself in light of the pending court proceedings.
In the meantime, messages posted on the hunters' federation forum clearly show they are angry at the prospect of having to leave their shotguns at home in the coming weeks.
One message posted yesterday said: "On March 25, I will ignore (Gonzi) and I will be in my hunter's hide. And I declare that if I see a birdwatcher in my area, especially if he is a foreigner, he is in trouble. Don't touch hunting or you'll regret it."
Some said it was high time for hunters to hold street protests, while others called for boycotts.
In the meantime, the hunters' federation is organising a nationwide petition in a last ditch bid to stop the European Commission halting spring hunting.
The federation said that although a special arrangement exists between the Commission and Malta over hunting in spring - which already restricts hunting to turtle dove and quail - Brussels had started legal proceedings against Malta and was pressing for a ban.
Mr Farrugia said that though the Ornis Committee was meant to recommend the dates of the hunting season four weeks before the implementation date, the minister concerned may actually give the go-ahead himself. Since the new Cabinet was sworn in, the Prime Minister is directly responsible for the environment portfolio.
Mr Farrugia said Maltese hunters were being discriminated against, claiming that Slovakia (another EU state) was being permitted to hunt a particular species (woodcock) between March 15 and April 15.
When contacted, Birdlife executive director Tolga Temuge said it was evident that the different authorities were conveniently blaming Brussels.
He said the only agreement reached by Malta during the accession negotiations was a five-year transition period to phase out trapping of seven finch species by the end of 2008.
He said Malta was facing a court case not because the Commission had "changed its mind", but due to the lack of scientific evidence to substantiate the Government's claim that there were not enough Turtle Dove and Quail to hunt in both spring and autumn.
"This is not village politics - you don't get into the EU and then expect to do as you please," Mr Temuge said.
Mr Temuge claimed that Birdlife had received some 180 reports of illegal trapping and hunting since polling day on March 8.
"The FKNK has a responsibility to tell its members to abide by the law or else we're going to have anarchy... Once there is a declaration that spring hunting is banned, then anybody with a shotgun in the countryside should be considered as an armed criminal," he warned.
Mr Temuge said it would be political suicide for the Government to forge ahead with opening the spring hunting season, once the Commission had now made clear it was illegal. Besides, he said, the electorate was evidently against it.
Link - http://timesofmalta.com/articles/vie...g-hunting-fknk
All this verbosity worries me - it is time that the EU Parliament got off its @rse and actually implemented some of the laws it creates and impose real and effective penalties for the non-conformers.
wheather i am nieve i don't know but i didnt know things had gotten this bad, a couple of years ago now i was in southern brittany, france and stumbbled across some ortolan buntings but to my disgust some french b@st**d shot the poor little buggers from here to kingdom come for no reason whatsoever.
in the same year there was an osprey realeased here which my dad witnessed flying off fine it made its way south to make a sticky end as it rached portugal with 14grams of lead going into it!
but i thaught theese were a one off, obviously i am wrong.
It's great to know that there are people on Malta - probably the majority- that are more concerned about saving what little wildlife is left and not having to prove how macho they are by blowing birds out of the sky with shot guns. Italian conservationists had the same problems with criminals ( I noticed the police only thought the burning of the cars was a criminal act! ) but , with dedication, they seem to be winning. Keep up the good work and remember - YOU'RE RIGHT!
Birds, Beer, Baying-at-the-moon and Bikes. Isn't alliteration wonderful.
Hi there...sorry for the long silence but I have just finished my Easter Holidays and I have been doing allot of birding...Got some nice species such as Spoonbill and Pallid Harrier...Great time.
A decision was suppost to be taken by EU regarding Spring hunting...but the court decided to take a decision next week...Fingers Crossed..
Spring Watch is about to start...4 days left.
Last Monday (14/4/08) there was a great passage of turtle doves...and many of which didnt have the chance to make back to europe because of iresponsable poachers
BirdLife complains of 'mayhem and anarchy' in the Maltese countryside
Mayhem and anarchy are reigning in the Maltese countryside as poachers take the law into their hands and open fire on migrating birds, BirdLife Malta claimed this afternoon.
"As BirdLife Malta’s Spring Watch Camp kicked off on Sunday so did the rampant illegal shooting as poachers invaded the countryside opening fire at migrating birds since Monday morning," the society said.
It said Spring Watch volunteers were also targeted by individuals with threats and insults pouring onto them.
"One of the teams in Delimara on Monday afternoon was also surrounded by aggressive individuals and ordered to leave the area although the team was on public land."
André Raine, BirdLife Malta’s Conservation Manager and Spring Watch Camp Coordinator said Monday morning was particularly bad for illegal hunting activity.
“So far over the last two days our teams in different locations have counted more than 1,050 shots. Delimara was a particularly bad area, with 486 shots counted over a four hour period on Monday morning alone. These came from numerous individuals shooting throughout the peninsula. Our observation teams have shown that this is not simply a handful of poachers breaking the law, but rather numerous individuals actively shooting in the countryside as if this is simply another open season.”
He asked how the government could claim that it could control spring hunting when it had absolutely no control over illegal hunting.
He said illegal shooting was less on Tuesday morning compared to the previous day as the bird migration was much slower due to the change in weather conditions.
BirdLife said that over the last two days its teams had witnessed birds flying by with visible injuries, including Turtle Doves (Gamiem) and Night Herons (Kwakk), as well as a Common Kestrel (Spanjulett) being shot down in Wardija in front of the birdwatchers’ very eyes.
“Even though the Police are responding to our calls very quickly they are too short-staffed to have a serious impact on this level of criminality.”
BirdLife explained that shooting was in fact stopping as soon as the poachers saw the police cars approaching, but would resume again as soon as the police left the area.
Markus Nipkow, Ornithology and Bird Conservation officer for NABU (BirdLife Germany) who is taking part in the Spring Watch Camp said: “Our conservation work in Germany will not succeed if migratory birds are slaughtered over the Maltese islands, as it is evident that the conservation of our common natural heritage lies beyond national borders. We are aware that an overwhelming majority in Malta is against spring hunting but we fail to understand why the Maltese government is reluctant to put an end to this unsustainable practice.”
BirdLife said it had also been receiving numerous reports of illegal shooting from members of the public throughout the Maltese islands.
Joseph Mangion, President of BirdLife Malta, said that what was being witnessed was not surprising when one recalled statements of the hunters' association administration that targeted the Spring Watch attendees even before they arrived in Malta.
“Why is the FKNK administration so scared of peaceful, non-violent birdwatchers who are here to witness bird migration and report illegal activity? One would expect them to sit with us and report illegal activities too if they genuinely are against illegal hunting. It is about time that this government acknowledges this fact.”
He appealed to the government to immediately take all the necessary actions to bring back law and order in the countryside.
BirdLife's Spring Watch Camp kicks off
Monday, 14 April 2008
Over 150 people from all walks of life joined BirdLife Malta’s Spring Watch teams yesterday for a stroll in the countryside, this being the first spring without hunting since Malta joined the European Union in 2004.
Numerous environmental organisations joined ornithologists participating in BirdLife’s Spring Watch camp for this walk, including members of the British Residents' Association, Din l-Art Helwa, Nature Trust, and the Ramblers Association. The international ornithologists are here to document migration over this two-week period as well as to report on any illegal hunting and trapping activity they witness. In all, over 35 international participants will be joining Spring Watch, the first camp of its kind to be held in Malta at this time of the year. This camp will also see a number of Maltese participating too.
The hike on Sunday started out at the Red Tower in Mellieha and took in some of the FORESTA 2000 project, which is run by BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Helwa and the PARC Department. BirdLife Malta officials were on hand to explain interesting information on the flora and fauna that could be observed during the walk.
“This was indeed a true celebration, as many people turned up to walk through the countryside while admiring the miracle of our natural heritage undisturbed,” explained Tolga Temuge, BirdLife Malta’s Executive Director. “It is clear that the Maltese people truly do appreciate their wonderful environment, when given the chance. Government must put much more effort into safe-guarding what is left of the Maltese countryside for its inhabitants and visitors to the islands to be able to enjoy to the full, now and in the future,” concluded Temuge.
Link - http://www.birdlifemalta.org/view.aspx?id=84
Shotgun stashed illegally in Bird Sanctuary
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
A team of volunteers participating in BirdLife Malta's Spring Watch Camp today discovered a shotgun stashed away illegally at Salina following an anonymous tip.
Salina is a Bird Sanctuary and the area is very close to a public area where Maltese families with children spend many hours picnicking. The Spring Watch team called the ALE upon their discovery of the weapon who immediately responded to the report and headed down to Salina where they uncovered the shotgun which contained two cartridges, rendering the find even more alarming as anyone could have come across the weapon, including children. The Police discharged the shotgun and took possession of it.
Police displaying shotgun. N. Tschovikov
To view the footage taken click here