Police from the Administrative Law Enforcement Unit late yesterday arrested  an armed hunter inside Is-Simar Nature Reserve, in Xemxija, Birdlife said.

The police were alerted to a break-in  by one of the reserve’s watchmen and immediately dispatched a unit.

Officers chased down and caught the hunter, who was still inside the reserve when they arrived.

Is-Simar is one of only two wetland nature reserves in Malta. It is managed by Birdlife Malta.

It is thought the break-in was carried out in an attempt to target birds currently  wintering in the wetland, which include several Teal, Snipe and Coots.

BirdLife Malta’s Nature Reserves Manager, Mark Gauci, said: “It is a shame that incidents like this one mean we need to have watchmen guarding a nature reserve, where so much time and effort has gone in to creating a place where people can experience nature and see birds and wildlife that would otherwise have no safe refuge in Malta.”

With winter slowly giving way to spring, several of Is-Simar’s birds are already starting to display breeding behaviour, including Little Grebes for whom the wetland is the only known breeding site in the islands, thanks to the ideal habitat provided by the dense reed beds around the brackish lake.

Visitors can enjoy these and other birds, animals and plants at Is-Simar every Sunday throughout the spring, when the reserve is open to the public between 10.30am and 4.30pm.


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