What are you doing for Easter? Relaxing, visiting family, going to church?
I’m going to Malta. Alas, it is not a jolly. I’ll be working hard. That is, unless all the illegal hunters decide to stop doing everything illegal, and then we could all rejoice.
But the 2014 illegal killing season has already begun in Malta. Each year, droves of blokes with guns, ignore every law regarding wildlife crime, and go on a killing rampage. Illegal traps, lures, and just simply shooting them right of the sky.
Until the end of April, there are actually only two species of bird that can be legally shot whilst on migration over Malta. Quail and Turtle dove. Which seems absolutely ridiculous to me, as we are trying so hard here in England to save the Turtle dove form a UK extinction.
The hunters ignore these rules, they kill every species they see. Species that are on their way back to Europe to have babies. On their way back from a long and ardous journey, Malta seems like a good pit-stop to many birds. Sadly many of them don’t make it any further.
I’m going over for a week, to join the CABS (Committee Against Bird Slaughter – a German charity) team. We will be looking out for hunters killing the wrong birds, hunters ignoring curfew hours, hunters killing Quail and Turtle dove (and all the others) with non-legal methods.
I’ll be keeping you updated here on the blog all week.
But please also check out Chris Packham’s page HERE, as he’s done all the hard work and put all sorts of info, links, and how you can help, on the page. He’ll also be reporting on youtube, 21st – 26th April, 9pm, direct from Malta. He’s doing this all off his own back, as certain TV channels just don’t seem to be interested.
Look at it this way – when you see all the delightful birds returning to the UK each spring/summer, you think of them as ‘our’ birds don’t you? Not African birds. Not Maltese birds. Nope, they just go to Africa for the winter (wouldn’t we all if we had the chance!). These Maltese hunters are ignoring European laws, ignoring Maltese laws, ignoring the wishes of most Maltese people, and they are mudering OUR BIRDS. They don’t even eat them!
Sadly, they can shoot them legally later on the year, when the birds are heading back south. And the laws that say no killing in the spring are there for a good and logical reason. These birds need to reproduce. If they don’t get to reproduce, there will be none left – for bird admirers or bird shooters. So the hunters are shooting themselves in the feet by ignoring these laws. Are they really this thick?!
Until I’m there, witnessing atrocities, I’m not sure how I’ll react. Calm and collected, seething internally, irrate, or an emotional wreck. I’ll be attempting and hoping to be the first. Fingers crossed.
Have a lovely Easter. But give a moment’s thought to all the eggs that may not get laid this spring.