Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
A flock of 12 short-toed eagles was spotted in Gozo this week, but only one is believed to have survived in the face of poachers, BirdLife Malta reports.
The mid-sized eagles are a rare sight in Malta, but 12 were observed roosting in Gozo on Thursday. By Friday, however, the only bird that could be found was an injured specimen spotted by two Italian tourists in the countryside between Xagħra and Marsalforn.
The bird was retrieved by BirdLife, which passed it on to the government veterinary for treatment.
BirdLife Malta has emphasised that this year has been a record year for illegal hunting, with no less than 167 shot protected birds retrieved by the NGO or by the police to date.
The injured bird, incidentally, was retrieved on the same day that the government handed over the Miżieb and Aħrax woodlands to the FKNK hunters’ federation in a secret event. BirdLife has encouraged the public to join it and protest the decision in Miżieb on Sunday at 3pm – when the agreement was originally set to be signed, before it was decided to move it forward without informing the public or the media.
FKNK issues condemnation
The FKNK issued its condemnation later in the evening, emphasising as it did so that such acts put hunting in a bad light.
It insisted that the perpetrators were shameless and showed no respect to fellow hunters, and said that its members had a duty to provide the authorities with all information they knew about the act.
It also pledged to do its utmost to bring them to justice.