Malta: Hunters say it’s war, and 10,000 Birds has the scoop:
How dangerous is it in Malta for staff and volunteers working to protect migrant birds from illegal hunting? Nicholas Barbara, Conservation & Policy Officer at BirdLife Malta, has just sent the following letter to Joseph Buttigieg, President of the hunting federation in Malta, asking why hunters are being allowed to openly threaten to ‘beat senseless’ and maim volunteers. Make no mistake, volunteers are putting their lives on the line to uphold European law and protect migrant birds from thugs who appear to think they can threaten to kill and injure with immunity…
It’s unbelievable. I have no words.
The full Open Letter to the FKNK (Malta’s hunters’ federation) president is below the fold.
Mr Joseph Buttigieg
Federazzjoni Kaccaturi Nassaba Konservazzjonisti
138E Triq il-Kuncizzjoni
14th September 2010
Dear Mr Buttigieg,
We refer to a statement which appeared on the FKNK forum under the thread ‘X’rajna Illum 11/09/2010’ posted under the username ‘Ganni126’.
In the statement the poster referred to two Marsh Harriers he was hunting but failed to kill and two Bee-eaters he killed (1). Since both species are protected the person has admitted to illegal hunting, on the FKNK forum.
The FKNK has repeatedly claimed to adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to poachers holding an FKNK membership. We therefore request that the FKNK explains whether this illegality has been reported to the police, whether the FKNK is assisting in any investigation by providing all the available details relating to this person, and whether this person’s membership is being cancelled or suspended.
The statement appeared on the 11th September and was removed from the FKNK website shortly after being posted.
However statements inciting violence against Raptor Camp and CABS participants, posted on the FKNK forum this August, are still online.
On the 30th August ‘Vostro’ promised to tie up any bird watchers found in his property, while ‘Irxix’, posting the following day, promised bird watchers ‘war’ (2).
Posts inciting violence have long appeared on the FKNK website forum. From 2007 such posts as ‘if they dont listen of their own free will, they will be made to listen using other means’(3) have appeared referring to BirdLife Malta, “that problem will be solved once someone finds her alone in the countryside and beats her senseless” referring to Anna Giordano, Goldman Prize winner and Raptor Camp volunteer (4), ‘if he is not careful his head will be chopped of like was done to Dragut’ referring to BirdLife Malta Exectuive Director Tolga Temuge (5), “their cameras they should keep far away, because ill do to them what i do to the clay pigeons if they dare take photos of me” referring to BirdLife Malta volunteers (6).
The following have also appeared on the FKNK website – “I never wanted trouble, but now we reached a stage where those who took our hobby must pay and sufffer. An eye for an eye.” (7), “Protest? Right in front of the reserves and we’ll smash everything” (8), “If you want war, we will give you war!” (9), ‘a war of wars. A war that would wipe that smile of your face and all those assholes who think like you.’ (10), “then they are surprised if someone gets hurt”(11), “they have no idea how much they’re going to pay for this, don’t they know that Malta’s small?” (12).
There is even a BirdLife Malta logo, with the following text overlaid “this is an antibirdlies site, trespassers will be shot, survivals will be shot again” (13).
All these examples can be seen on the FKNK forum today. Could the FKNK clarify why comments referring to illegal hunting have been quickly removed from their website, yet comments inciting violence against conservationists remain?
Conservation & Policy Officer
57/28 Triq Abate Rigord, Ta’Xbiex XBX1120
Tel: +356 21347644/5/6
Fax: +356 21343239