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Caught on film - Maltese hunters massacring migrant birds in Egypt

With permission from International Animal Rescue Malta, the German group Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has published sequences from a shocking video on its YouTube channel. The film was provided anonymously to IAR and shows a group of Maltese hunters on a shooting spree on Lake Nasser in Egypt. Migrating birds – some of them highly endangered species, including numerous Pelicans, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis, Egyptian Vultures as well as an Osprey, a Lanner Falcon and a Bonelli’s Eagle - are seen being shot down - accompanied by cheering and laughter as the birds are hauled into the hunters’ boat. CABS spokesperson Axel Hirschfeld comments:  “This video shows the true face of these so-called hunting trips. We have therefore decided to expose them by publishing extracts from this video”.

Maltese hunters pose for the camera with freshly shot pelicansCABS has severely criticised the unchecked shooting. The country on the River Nile opened the hunting season for birds last December for the first time since the outbreak of avian influenza in 2008, and again permitted foreign hunters to enter the country. According to reports from local conservationists received by CABS, several groups of Maltese hunters have shot large numbers of birds around Lake Nasser this year, including protected species.

From today the film can be viewed on YouTube. In order to protect the identity of the hunters and their local guides the faces of the hunters have been blurred and their voices edited.

CABS received support from local conservationists who want to put an end to this uncontrolled hunting tourism. “Maltese hunters are crazy fanatics. They have been bird hunting in Egypt for decades, because Egypt has interesting-looking birds compared to its neighbours” complains Sherif Baha el-Din, an Egyptian bird expert, in an interview with the Egypt Independent newspaper on 4th February this year.  The conservationist has witnessed at first hand the indiscriminate killing of Flamingos and other bird species. He is critical about the almost complete lack of effective controls in Egypt. “You cannot open a hunting season when you don’t have a system to monitor this activity” states Baha El-Din.

Because of the numerous reports of massacres of birds by hunting tourists, CABS has announced that it will send a team to Egypt during the next hunting season to monitor important rest areas around Lake Nasser for migrant birds on passage. “As on Malta we will work closely with local ornithologists and law enforcement agencies” states CABS spokesperson Axel Hirschfeld.

Contact for queries, photographs: CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld Tel +49 228 665521 (office) or +49 1794803805 (mobile), Email: [email protected]