Bird protection camp takes place in Malta
For the third year running the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) is currently conducting a 10-day bird protection camp in Malta. As in previous years the volunteer bird guards will be assisted by International Animal Rescue (Malta). The main aim is to record incidents of illegal hunting of protected species, particularly birds of prey. They are also recording incidents of hunting outside the permitted hours and compliance with the requirement for registered hunters to wear distinctive armbands. Special efforts are also being focused on the search for illegally operated trapping installations as well as the locating of banned bird callers and reporting them to the police
In addition, the CABS team is monitoring the permitted hunting of Turtle and Quail in order to ensure that it is carried out in accordance with the regulations announced by the Government. The Committee against Bird slaughter (CABS) has sharply criticised the opening of the spring hunting season for Turtle Dove and Quail and announced it will be monitoring the hunting that takes place.
IAR Malta is urging all those who happen to be in the countryside and notice any illegal hunting or law contraventions to report all cases to the Administrative Law Enforcement police or any of the bird protection groups.
"Killing migrant birds on their pre-nuptial flight represents direct and unacceptable intervention in the reproduction of these species" CABS President Heinz Schwarze said. "The majority of the 9,000 Turtle Doves and 2,500 Common Quail that the government has declared huntable are breeding birds. They will not reproduce again this year".
"The female Turtle Dove has an annual reproduction rate of only one or two offspring. CABS estimates that the killing of 9,000 adult birds in spring means that some 6,750 chicks fewer hatch in summer. To put this in perspective, the total Turtle Dove population in Switzerland is between 1,000 and 2,500 breeding pairs. Schwarze continues: "Quite independent of the legal aspects, the hunting of Turtle Dove and Quail in April is not sustainable and will only hasten the proven decline of both these species in many countries in Central Europe. We therefore appeal to all rational hunters to desist from hunting the birds in spring on the grounds of prudent conservation. If this injudicious killing continues, there will ultimately be little or nothing for hunters to shoot at legally in future years. This of course is not a new situation for Malta".