By Western Morning News | Posted: May 02, 2014
By Liam Creedon
A Turtle Dove injured by hunters
Photo of Golden Oriole, who was a victim of illegal hunting.
Photo of Hobby bird, who was a victim of illegal hunting
Cape Turtle Doves
Thousands of migrating birds are being killed at one of Britain’s favourite holiday destinations. We explain why this is not just a disaster for Malta but bad news for some of the UK’s most threatened species
The rocky island of Malta, much-loved tourist destination for British holidaymakers, nestling amid the startling blue Mediterranean Sea, is possibly the worst place in the world to be a bird.
For this small, barren outcrop is a killing ground on an unprecedented scale.
Thousands of birds, some of which may be migrating back to British back gardens, are blasted from the skies each year by the highest concentration of registered hunters in Europe. Even those lucky enough to avoid the guns run the gauntlet of being illegally trapped and harvested in hard-to-see ‘mist nets’ slung between bushes.
Trigger-happy hunters are responsible for this indiscriminate killing spree, during a three-week period in spring, with one of our rarest birds, the Turtle Dove, singled out as a key target. The dove has declined by 95% in the UK since the 1970s and there are real fears it will become extinct as a British breeding bird.