Here's a very quick post about a campaign you should DEFINITELY support.
Every year in spring, birds migrating between Africa and Europe stop off in Malta, a small island in the Mediterranean. Unfortunately they land there in the middle of the spring hunting season which lasts for three weeks. In theory, only turtle doves and quail can be shot then, but in 2013 at least 24 species of protected birds were illegally shot including cuckoos, marsh and pallid Harriers, kestrels, ospreys, purple and grey herons, bee-eaters and golden orioles. These are some of the most beautiful and rare birds, and if they were killed in Europe (where they are often heading for) there would be an outcry.
The spring hunting season needs to be stopped, because otherwise protected birds are going to be endangered by hunters who cannot be trusted. Here is why:
- The spring hunting season is so dangerous that last year the police called in the army to protect a wildlife reserve from hunters because it was getting out of control.
- The Maltese government hasn't taken any action to protect endangered birds, despite 44,000 people signing a petition,
- In 2009 the European Court of Justice found Malta guilty of allowing spring hunting in breach of the Birds Directive between 2004 and 2007, but no action was taken to prevent it.
- Each year the season is extended, restrictions relaxed, bag limits and numbers of licences increased.
In a few weeks, BBC wildlife presenter Chris Packham (who I know because of meeting him on Autumnwatch and Winterwatch) will go out to film from Malta during the season. He is doing this by himself, because no TV channel wanted to help him. This is what he says about it on his website:
"It will not be pretty, the species killed include many UK favourites and rarities and the hunters are infamous for being confrontational and violent. I don’t care, this is not a holiday, it's an attempt to bring this forgotten issue to a wider public attention and then to offer a couple of ways the viewers can actually do something to effect positive change."
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