The Wild Birds Regulation Unit has refused to reply on the number of quails reported caught so far, BirdLife Malta said in a statement on Tuesday.
The NGO filed a request on Monday asking the WBRU and Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia to provide the numbers of quails declared caught by hunters so far. BirdLife Malta noted that so far the question has remained unanswered.
According to BirdLife Malta, “thousands” of turtle-doves were illegally shot over the last few days which were good for turtle-dove migration. The NGO accused hunters of indiscriminately targeting the vulnerable species “as if it were open season”.
Footage of two hunters shooting and killing turtle-doves was released by BirdLife on Tuesday. Five shot turtle-doves, two of which were found at Miżieb, were recovered in a space of two days.
The Federation of Hunting and Conservation (FKNK) takes care of Miżieb.
BirdLife Malta said that turtle-doves seeking shelter in the woodland were met with gunfire.
The NGO said that several users took to social media to report a “barage” of shots on Monday. Some claimed that heavy shooting could be heard as early as 4.30am till midday.
“With the exceptional numbers of turtle-doves seen migrating till late morning, there is reasons to believe that such shots were in their majority targeting turtle-doves and not quail for which the spring hunting season is supposedly open for,” BirdLife said.
Other protected birds were shot over the past days including birds of prey, herons, Golden Orioles, Hoopoes and Bee-eaters.
Video: BirdLife Malta