Posted by: Dan | September 13, 2008

Bird Hunting in Malta

Besides bird hunting and trapping in Cyprus, this illegal obsession is hugely popular in Malta as well. And, since they joined the EU at about the same time, they too fell under the EU ban of this very destructive past-time.

(for the image at right: Caged birds are used by hunters with guns to attract their wild prey on the island of Malta, an island just South of Sicily)

Birdlife Malta has an article up detailing this year’s story, and in light of trends of recent years – Illegal hunting, worse than last year:

Since the opening of the hunting season on September 1st, the illegal killing of protected species has continued unabated as over the last 4 days Maltese birdwatchers have recorded 186 incidences of illegal hunting.
“We currently have fewer than 20 local birdwatchers in the countryside who are witnessing and reporting illegal hunting in a handful of locations.” said BirdLife Malta’s Conservation Manager, Dr. Andre Raine. “As the numbers of birdwatchers increase during the Raptor Camp that will start in 10 days time, the number of illegal activities we will record is likely to increase drastically. Therefore the actual scale of wild life crimes that we are recording at present is only the tip of the iceberg and is without any doubt much worse than last year.” continued Dr. Raine.

For more on the context of the annual hunt:

In his book, Fatal Flight: The Maltese Obsession with Killing Birds which chronicles the history of Maltese hunting, Natalino Fenech described the annual death toll of three million finches, more than half a million thrushes, 500,000 swallows, 80,000 golden orioles, 18,000 shearwaters and 50,000 birds of prey.

Many other birds have been completely wiped out, all for sport.


  1. Depressing and aggravating… why do people progress the destruction of the world so effectively?

    Uggh… a shame among many


  2. Hi Dan,

    Interesting blog you’re writing. I found it after reading your comments on the WUWT, and as a fellow “Dan,” I’m compelled to warn you: you’re wasting your time at that site. They attempt to maintain a veneer of “skepticism,” but they’re really just political idealogues railing against some fictitious “green menace” bent on brainwashing everyone into believing sound science.

    I’ve spent many months making reasonable, factual comments there only to either be called a coward by the author for using an alias, be told that I don’t make any sense (even when regurgitating basic, textbook atmospheric science), or been treated worse. The bottom line is that they’re not interested in climate science – they’re merely right-wing reactionaries peddling the latest political fad.

    My final straw there was one of pure hypocrisy. They forbid the use of the term “denialist,” alleging it has connotations to holocaust-denial. A post just a few weeks ago, however, began by explicitly comparing the teaching of AGW to school-children as a Hitler- or Stalin-esque “brainwashing.” I refuse to participate in discussion there while this double-standard exists; it clearly illustrates the political motives of the blog’s authors.

    If you wish to pursue debate there, then good luck. In my opinion, though, you’re wasting your time.

    – Daniel “counters” Rothenberg

  3. Thanks, and yes, I have stopped reading the comments there. That was just a hopeless endeavor I took up. But still, I can’t help hoping for a moment when I first come across “skeptics” that they might be open to actual science.

  4. Don’t get me wrong – there are a few people I felt that I “got through to” over there, and there are certainly a few more that are more than capable of connecting all the dots and emerging with AGW as the answer. The problem is that the debate is hopelessly shrouded in a veil of thinly-disguised political haranguing, and until people open their eyes and see that they’re being lied to and misled, they’ll automatically reject AGW based on false presuppositions.

  5. Yep in Malta there was/is loads of people who practice bird hunting, however with the more and more restrictions being imposed following EU laws, you are actually seeing less around now.

  6. Malta Blog,
    The same can be said of Cyprus – that there is a general decrease in hunting/trapping compared to five or ten years ago – but the goal here is at least sustainable levels of hunting, which we still aren’t seeing. Ideally, however, the ultimate goal is something akin the the International Migratory Bird Treaties currently existing between the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, Russia and Japan, which makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell specified migratory birds. But at the very least, the current EU laws must be enforced and followed – ‘some’ illegal hunting is still too much.


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