An Osprey that was sent to Germany for treatment after it was shot in the Salina Bird Sanctuary on October 4 could not be saved despite the efforts of the rehabilitation centre, BirdLife said today.

The gunshot wound resulted in reduced blood flow to the Osprey’s right wing, which had to be amputated. This meant that “Malte”, as the Osprey was known amongst its rehabilitators, would never have flown again.

The veterinarians considered alternatives to save the bird however this species is very difficult to keep in captivity and no Osprey captive breeding programme currently exist in Germany. The decision was therefore taken to euthanize the bird to put an end to its suffering.

The Osprey was recovered by BirdLife Malta and the ALE shortly after being shot in the Salina Bird Sanctuary (1). From the German ring attached to its leg BirdLife Malta learned that the Osprey was ringed as a chick in its nest on the 25th June this year. It was the focus of a conservation project by the BirdLife partner in Germany (NABU) together with the Forestry Commission, Nature Conservation Authorities, Power Line Companies and around 200 volunteers. MEPA had transferred the bird to Kirchwald rehabilitation centre in Germany the day after it was recovered.

Since the Osprey was recovered, BirdLife Malta alone has received a further 27 shot protected birds. Their injuries were confirmed by a vet and they were reported to MEPA, ALE and the OPM. The shot protected birds include a Northern Gannet, a Night Heron, two Short-eared Owls and a Purple Heron, the latter three species being Species of Conservation Concern in Europe.

BirdLife Malta called on the Maltese government to take concrete measures to clamp down on illegal hunting by significantly increasing fines for repeat offenders, and establishing a dedicated wildlife crime unit with sufficient resources.

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