Two men cruelly beat injured bird to death
A number of bird watchers were shocked by an appalling scene they witnessed in the North of Malta, in the area known as Maghtab.
It has been reported to the police that two men beat to death a marsh harrier - a protected bird of prey - which was spotted by their dog in one of the fields.
The killing of this bird was brutal. While one of the two men held the bird pinned to the ground the other smashed it on the head with a piece of rock. Prior to this macabre scene, the terrified bird which had been spotted by the dog started to run with its wing wide open. The two men followed the bird, picked it up and viciously killed it.
The wildlife police were called and in a few minutes were on the spot. They were shown a video taken by the birdwatchers and the police then arrested both men. The video according to police sources showed the men picking up the lifeless bird and hiding it behind some rocks.
Both men are now expected to be arraigned in court for breaching the cruelty to animals law and for killing a protected bird.
It seems likely that the bird had already been shot earlier by someone else. Eyewitnesses said that the injuries were a number of hours old and the bird was in very bad condition owing to lack of food.
The spring Bird Guard Camp which is organised in conjunction with International Animal Rescue in Malta starts on Saturday 25 April and runs for a week. The guards will all be equipped with legal equipment to record illegal hunting and trapping in the Maltese countryside.
The Malta Prime Minister has chosen not to open the Spring Hunting season pending court decisions at the European Court of Justice against Malta.