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German TV crew film hunting of birds of prey in Malta

One of the biggest regional television stations in Germany (Bayerische Rundfunk) has filmed the illegal shooting of birds of prey on several parts of the island of Malta.

Following the flying-in to Malta of numerous birds of prey at the weekend, poachers shot at Honey Buzzards and Marsh Harriers in a number of places. According to IAR's partners, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS), at least six birds were killed outright, two of which were shot at ta' Golja Siggiei. A CABS team on the Dwejra Lines managed to film the shooting down of a Honey Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier. The police, called to the spot by the team, searched the area but failed to find either the poacher or the dead birds in the difficult terrain. At 06:10 hrs several hunters shot at a group of Marsh Harriers that had roosted in Wied-ir-Rum for the night. At least one bird was hit and disappeared towards Dingli radar station.

The latter incident was witnessed and filmed by the German TV crew. The crew, led by well-known author Eberhard Meyer, is in Malta gathering material for a documentary on the illegal slaughter of migrant birds and the work of conservationists on the island. The film will be broadcast on German television on 24 October.

The shooting of protected species was recorded in the very limited area which is being covered by CABS volunteers. It amounts to about 12 square kilometres of Malta which is 350 square kilometres in total.

IAR's representatives in Malta who were monitoring the Siggiewi area on Saturday afternoon saw two Honey Buzzards being shot at tal-Għolja in the limits of Siggiewi. They saw three hunters in the area.

On Sunday morning members of IAR also witnessed two rubber dinghies manned by three police officers stopping and searching a number of boats in the north of Malta. It is understood that no hunting equipment was found on this occasion and that most of the boats were manned by amateur fishermen. Some years ago International Animal Rescue donated a boat to the police force to help them control hunting at sea. The speedboat was built locally by Chardon Boat Builders, holders of the F1 World Speedboat Championship. It is equipped with a 250 horse power engine.

» CABS video documentation of the killings on Youtube