Report from Malta
Malta joined the European Union on 1 May. During negotiations the government managed to obtain concessions for the hunters, one of which allows the spring shooting of quail and turtle doves and the trapping of song birds. Yet the Government does seem determined to try to stamp out illegal hunting and, with the help of groups like IAR, effective police enforcement has brought a considerable improvement both on land and at sea.
IAR (Malta) helps draft new animal welfare legislature
IAR (Malta) is one of three animal welfare groups involved in drafting legislation to improve animal welfare in Malta. The Legal Notices concern horse-drawn vehicles (covering horses, donkeys and mules), pet shop regulations and the import and sale of exotic animals. This is the first time that animal welfare groups have been involved in the drafting of legislation.
IAR steps in to help smuggled wildlife A joint operation by the Malta armed forces and the police resulted in the arrest and sending to court of two Maltese citizens. They allegedly imported more than 4000 songbirds (mainly greenfinches), 160 tortoises and two rough-legged buzzards. Following the operation, IAR helped the police to save as many of the animals as possible. Sadly, a large number of the 4000 songbirds died through stress and shock and also because of the way they were packed in small plastic boxes. The surviving birds were cared for and then released.
Caring schoolgirls rescue fallen kestrel In April thousands of birds came to Malta on migration to northern of Europe, and in one day IAR received 43 telephone calls about illegal hunting. One kestrel fell in the grounds of the Margaret Mortimer Girls Secondary School and the girls picked it up and phoned IAR. We rescued the bird and, after we removed a lead pellet from its wing, it recovered well. While I was there I talked to the students about the kestrel and why it was flying over Malta.