This year’s BirdFair saw a popular talk with Chris Packham, Birdlife Malta and the Committee Against Bird Slaughter about what’s been going on in Malta and Cyprus, and about the new initiative to combat raptor crime.
Malta allows 9,798 hunters to shoot up to 16,000 turtle dove and quail each spring but Chris Packham has also found injured and dead birds illegally shot last, including swifts, yellow-legged gulls, kestrels and a little bittern.
The most shocking moment, said Chris, was when he watched 20 migrating Montagu’s Harriers – a vanishingly rare species in Britain – fly onto the island to roost one evening. Later that night, he was called by a local bird-lover who had found hunters roaming through the fields with torches and guns, trying to shoot these majestic birds of prey as they roosted on the ground.
Maltese hunters have reacted angrily to a procession of British naturalists arriving on the island to campaign against their spring shoot, which is forbidden by the EU birds’ directive. Malta was taken to the European court of justice over its shoot but subsequently satisfied the EU that its annual derogation from EU law was within the rules.
Other contributors to the BirdFair Talk include:
Ruth Tingay – conservationist & raptor persecution
UK blogger Ruth Peacey – wildlife documentary director, producer and conservation campaigner
Staff from Birdlife Malta, Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)
Filmed by GreenWorldTV for BirdFair