It happened again!  Honey Buzzard blasted out of the skies

It happened again!  After only 2 weeks of a five month hunting season on Tuesday 14 September the first confirmed victim of illegal bird shooting was recorded; a Honey Buzzard.

However, this does not mean it was the first protected bird that was shot during this year’s season.  In fact, on the same day at least another two honey buzzards were shot down according to birdwatchers at Tal-Virtu’.  Unfortunately these incidents are not uncommon during this time of year.

Each year history repeats itself.  Sometimes the victim is a Honey Buzzard, at others it is a Black Stork.  The list of protected birds shot each year ranges from relatively common birds to vagrants.

Honey Buzzards, like all birds of prey, are protected by law in Malta.  This raptor is listed as Annexe I species in the Birds Directive making it illegal to kill them in every single country of the EU.  Moreover, birds of prey were protected in Malta some 35 years ago.

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Although illegal bird shooting is not as severe as it used to be during the 1980s and 1990s, it looks like it is impossible to experience a hunting season without illegal shooting.  This means that while a substantial number of hunters over the years have understood that these birds are protected, others think they are above the law and can shoot anything they like.  It seems like not even 35 years were enough to successfully protect such birds.  Although regulations exist, enforcement is relatively poor, although it has improved over the years.

Another key issue here is education.  Through several education campaigns by many environmental organisations awareness was raised and it looks like these were indeed successful since the younger generation is more aware of the importance of protecting such birds.  Therefore, such campaigns are necessary if we want to successfully protect these birds.

We from ADŻ Malta Green Youth condemn such criminal actions and we urge the public to report any illegal shooting to the police.  Moreover we also encourage the public to go and watch birds at several places such as Buskett in order to enjoy the beauty of bird migration.

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Reġat ġrat!  Kuċċarda tintlaqat biċ-ċomb

Reġat ġrat!  Wara biss ġimgħatejn minn ħames xhur tal-istaġun tal-kaċċa, it-Tlieta 14 ta’ Settembru, l-ewwel vittma ikkonfermata ta’ kaċċa illegali ġiet irrappurtata; kuċċarda.

Madanakollu, dan ma jfissirx li din kienet l-ewwel tajra protetta li lemħet iċ-ċomb f’dan l-istaġun.  Fil-fatt, fl-istess ġurnata dilettanti tal-għasafar irrappurtaw li xi kaċċaturi sparaw mill-inqas tnejn oħra fl-inħawi Tal-Virtu’.  Sfortunatament dawn il-każijiet m’humiex daqshekk rari f’dan iż-żmien tas-sena.

Kull sena l-istorja tirrepeti ruħa.  Xi drabi il-vittma tkun Kuċċarda, drabi oħra tkun Ċikonja Sewda.  Il-lista ta’ tajr protett li jintlaqat b’xi tir kull sena ivarja minn għasafar relattivament komuni għal għasafar rari ħafna.

Il-Kuċċard, bħal-għasafar kollha tal-priża, huma protetti f’Malta.  Din it-tajra hija mniżżla bħala speci ta’ Anness I fid-direttiva tal-għasafar u għalhekk huwa illegali li tinqatel f’kull pajjiż tal-Unjoni Ewropea.  Madanakollu, l-għasafar tal-priża ġew protetti f’pajjiżna madwar 35 sena ilu.

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Anke jekk il-kaċċa illegali m’għadiex daqshekk gravi daqs is-snin tat-tmeninijiet u d-disgħajnijiet, jidher li huwa impossibli li jkun hawn staġun tal-kaċċa mingħir kaċċa illegali.  Dan ifisser li filwaqt li numru sostanzjali ta’ kaċċaturi tul is-snin fhemu li dawn l-għasafar huma protetti, oħrajn jaħsbu li qedin fuq il-liġi u li jistaw jagħmlu li jridu u jisparaw fuq kollox.  Jidher li anke 35 sena ma kienx biż-żejjed biex dawn l-għasafar jiġu protetti kif suppost.  Anke jekk il-liġi teżisti, l-infurzar għadu relattivament fqir, anke jekk dan mar għal-aħjar tul is-snin.

Kwusjoni oħra hawnhekk hija l-edukazzjoni.  Bis-saħħa ta’ ħafna kampanji edukattivi minn għaqdiet ambjentali, illum hawn ħafna iżjed kuxjenza fuq kemm huwa importanti li nipproteġu dawn l-għasafar.  Dan jidher li kien suċċess partikolarment fil-ġenerazzjoni taż-żgħażagħ għax ħafna huma dawk li jafu bl-importanza tal-konservazzjoni tal-għasafar.  Għalhekk dawn il-kampanji huma neċessarji jekk verament irridu nipproteġu dawn l-għasafar.

Aħna mil-ADŻ Malta Green Youth nikkundannaw azzjonijiet kriminali bħal dawn u nappellaw lil pubbliku sabiex jirrapporta kull tip ta’ kaċċa illegali lil pulizija.  Aktar minn hekk aħna nħeġġu lil pubbliku sabiex joħroġ fil-kamanja u jgawdi dan it-tajr f’ħafna postijiet bħall-Buskett u biex japprezza l-isbuħija tal-passa tal-għasafar.

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