Stop the Maltese Massacre

Malta Massacre on Migration.
I would like to dedicate this post to spreading the work of Birdlife Malta and highlight to those who read this blog (and who don't already know, which I doubt is many of you if I'm honest but it all helps).

Birdlife Malta have for many years been fighting against the barbaric practice of spring hunting, and while over the years they have had minor successes they have never yet managed to halt the practice, this year the well know wildlife presenter Chris Packham has joined them to campaign and highlight the plight of the birds as they fly over Malta.

Firstly let me make you a little aware of a few issues with Spring hunting. The birds shot are on their way to breed, the less that make it the less new birds there will be (even if you are a hunter this makes little sense as you are effectively reducing the amount you have to shoot at later!). Secondly these birds are the strong birds, the ones who have survived migration once and survived over wintering in Africa, these are the birds that should be continuing the population through natural selection (not blown out of the sky in a hail of hot lead).Thirdly it is against European Law - EU Birds Directive! However the Maltese government legalizes shooting of Turtle Dove and Quail (two declining birds) for spring using a derogation of the Birds Directive - However this has proven to be a false use of the derogation.

The Numbers

There are a reported 10000 hunters on Malta ( a small island) and while being allowed to shoot Quail and Turtle Dove' Birdlife recorded at least 24 species of protected birds being killed illegally in 2013's spring hunting (who knows how many more it was) these ranged from large raptors like the Marsh Harrier (a declining species in the UK) to small birds such as the Swallow (a bringer of summer to many). As well as the "target" birds of Quail and Turtle Dove.

Turtle Dove numbers down 74% across Europe and 85-95% across the UK (Quail have a similar number).

45000 Maltese citizens have signed a petition to have a referendum on spring hunting (be they for or against you would have thought that many people should be able to force the referendum into happening). 66% of people poled are against the hunting!

Why bother?

Well apart from the fact that these are our birds being shot as much as Malta's, and that the loss of a single species due to man's hunger to kill harmless creatures is abhorrent (as if they were not enough reason). The people of Malta are losing out on money because of it. I know I would NEVER take my family there in the spring or for that matter at other times because of these hunters and there are many more like me who feel the same. Eco tourism is big business these days but it is being put to one side for the sake of 10000 hunters!

What can we do?

Well visit Birdlife Malta and donate is a great way to start, or if money is tight (as I know it is for many of us) use your voice to help make a difference write to your MEP (there are links from Birdlife Malt's site as well as Chris Pckham's) and get them to make the change in your name!

Please feel free to leave me a comment, I really appreciate the interaction and will reply as soon as I can. I apologise for any issues with posting comments, but sometimes Google's blogger platform plays up.

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