BirdLife Malta Raptor Camp volunteers and the police guarded roosting rare Black Storks overnight at Buskett Woodland, but despite their coordinated efforts, one has been filmed by BirdLife Malta being shot down by an illegal hunter as it left the area this morning.
Yesterday afternoon six Black Storks were seen arriving in the area to the sound of gunshots at 5pm as they looked for somewhere to roost for the night. One was seen landing in the trees in Buskett below Verdala Palace. The other five birds flew in the direction of Dingli cliffs before being lost to sight. The sound of gunshots was heard coming from the direction in which the birds had flown.
The watching BirdLife Malta Raptor Camp team at Buskett observed several suspicious vehicles in the area around the woodland and alerted the police to the presence of one of the protected birds. Two Raptor Camp volunteers, including Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations, worked together with police officers to guard the Black Stork at Buskett overnight.
Ian said, “It is extremely disappointing, but no longer a shock or a surprise to hear that yet another rare bird has died at the hands of a shotgun-wielding criminal in Malta. As we guarded this bird overnight, an appalling necessity in itself, we were concerned that as soon as the bird took flight, it would be vulnerable. It is an absolute disgrace that species in which considerable conservation resources and effort are put elsewhere in Europe continue to be slaughtered in Malta’s skies in the 21st century.”