At some point each autumn I usually head to Malta for a week of volunteering. My blogs from Malta September 2015 are full of not a lot. The Hunters seemed to be behaving themselves. Even with a flock of 60-80 raptors roosting on the island, shotguns were not pointed at them. Not that any of us witnessed anyhow. I remember one Little egret casualty. But mostly I remember that the majority of Hunters were terrified thanks to some recent enormous fines and lifetime hunting bans. It seemed too good to be true. We knew we couldn’t relax.
And a year later, I have not been there but I’ve been keeping up to date with reports from my colleagues at CABS. it’s not been great. Actually it’s been quite horrific. The Maltese Hunters are back to their dreadful old tricks. Shooting raptors out of the sky. You can find their footage online if you wish. But I warn you, watching a glorious Honey Buzzard tumble from the sky is not even for the strong hearted.
This year I have friends volunteering on Cyprus. The avian death toll over there defies belief. Find Chris Packham on Twitter and you’ll get a taste of the atrocities committed out there. The lengths volunteers go to, to save every bird they can, is outstanding and heroic.
So where am I this autumn? I’m currently at Manchester airport, heading to Northern Italy. I expect to witness similar horrors to what Mr Packham is currently seeing on Cyprus. I hope we can help the police catch as many crooks as possible, and I hope that we can save as many wee birds as possible. Crooks is a very tame name for these men. I can’t put into words what I feel for these killers. For these birds, a gun shot would be a blessing.
So it’s a whole new adventure. New places, new experiences, new horrors, new successes, and new friends to be made. As usual, I’ll be sharing it all on here.
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