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Conservationists call for enquiry into bird 'cemetery' in Malta

HoopoeVolunteers from two bird protection camps in Malta have uncovered further bodies of endangered birds during their search of Mizieb hunting reserves. The number of carcasses of protected birds found by members of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) and BirdLife Malta (BLM Malta) now stands at 190.

Police were present during the joint operation by the two conservation groups and monitored the investigation. However, surprisingly, the woodland was not cordoned off. It has been agreed by both groups that BLM Malta should write to the Attorney General and request his intervention so that a serious inquiry can be conducted.

The carcasses, bones and feathers were recovered by birdwatchers from underneath stones and bushes in the woodland that is managed by the hunters' federation. Only five birds had been freshly killed while some other species had been shot some days, weeks or even months earlier. This is the biggest discovery of its kind in recent memory.

Volunteer Pete Charleston, a former British police officer who worked in the wild life crime unit in northern Wales, told the local press that he had never come across anything like the scene in Mizieb during his entire career with the British Police. He added that ideally the whole investigation should have been conducted by the police. However he acknowledged that the lack of police resources made it more practical to have volunteers working under the direct supervision of the ALE (Administrative Law Enforcement Police).

This grim discovery shows the extent of the illegal activity that is taking place in Malta and must put pressure on the authorities to act.

Protected birds found killed in Mizieb:

  • 35 night herons
  • 3 unidentified herons
  • 38 marsh harriers
  • 33 falcons
  • 18 honey buzzards
  • 49 raptors (species as yet unidentified)
  • 3 kestrels
  • 1 nightingale
  • 1 golden oriole
  • 4 racing pigeons
  • 4 hoopoes
  • 4 nightjars