BirdLife Malta said it had recorded 186 incidences of illegal hunting over the last four days since the opening of the hunting season on 1 September.
The organisation said its offices had also received shot protected birds over the last few weeks, many of which were received before the hunting season officially opened.
“We currently have fewer than 20 local birdwatchers in the countryside who are witnessing and reporting illegal hunting in a handful of locations,” BirdLife conservation manager Dr Andre Raine said.
Raine said the actual scale of wildlife crimes was “only the tip of the iceberg and is without any doubt much worse than last year.”
In the last two days birdwatchers recorded numerous illegal hunting incidences, including more than 100 shots at Barn Swallows in Mtahleb.
“On Monday, I observed two hunters shooting within the Salina Bird Sanctuary at 5:30pm. The Qawra police failed to respond to our reports. If hunters feel they can blatantly hunt in broad daylight within a bird sanctuary in a residential area, then one can't claim there is any serious law enforcement to stop illegal hunting at present.”
With a significant increase in illegal hunting this year compared to last, BirdLife Malta demanded that immediate action be taken by the government to deal with the situation.
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