Updated 9.35pm, adds FKNK statement

A child was seen handling a shotgun and being guided to aim and shoot at a bird in Miżieb on Friday, BirdLife Malta has said.

The child was being guided by a man who the NGO claims is the brother of FKNK secretary general Daniel Xriha, with BirdLife adding that the man had already been filmed committing a similar crime last year. 

BirdLife said that police called to the scene had confiscated firearms from the site. Sources said that video footage of the incident is being investigated by the police. 

The NGO described the incident as the "cherry on the cake" of a spring hunting season strewn with irregularities. The season ended on Friday. 

An FKNK spokesperson told Times of Malta that they would need to investigate the claims before commenting further.

Video of the 2020 incident which BirdLife said involved the same man caught on Friday. Video: BirdLife Malta

In a statement, the NGO said that Miżieb, which since last October is being managed by the FKNK, had been the site of a number of illegalities during the spring hunting season.

BirdLife’s head of conservation Nicholas Barbara said that during this season, most hunters were out targeting turtle-doves illegally with Friday’s case being the cherry on the cake.

The organisation called on the public to continue to keep an eye open for any illegal hunting incidents and report them immediately to the police on 119, asking to be transferred to the EPU. BirdLife can be informed on 2134 7645/6 or on 7925 5697 outside office hours. 

FKNK denies claims, says Birdlife's behaviour is 'disgusting'

But in a statement later, the federation denied Birdlife's claims saying they were “incorrect and deceitful”.

It also accused Barbara and other Birdlife activists of being in a private area at the time and said it had filed a report about the matter with the police.

The FKNK noted that a man was jailed for six months after he was caught working as a private investigator without a licence for following, filming and taking photos of another person with the court describing his behaviour as disgusting and invading privacy.

This led to the question as to what licence did Birdlife and German organisation CABS have to have been allowed to film freely and publish footage of private individuals - hunters and trappers - for a number of years including this spring.

Was not such behaviour also disgusting since it constituted an invasion of privacy, it asked.

The federation said it will investigate, report and take legal and disciplinary action where necessary to defend itself and private individuals. 

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