Three protected birds were shot yesterday bringing the total of illegally shot protected birds this autumn to 23, Birdlife said.

In a statement, it said yesterday afternoon it was called to try to collect a shot grey heron with a broken wing that was seen landing on a cliff ledge in Dwejra, Gozo.

In Delimara, a staff member and Raptor Camp volunteers witnessed the illegal shooting of another protected bird. After hearing a shot fired towards the ground some metres away, a hunter was filmed picking up a shot northern wheatear and stashing it away. The police were called and directed to the area where they found and retrieved the bird. The footage was passed on to the police.

Video: Birdlife

There was then the illegal shooting of another honey buzzard, videoed by Committee Against Bird Slaughter in Fawwara.

“With so many protected birds known to have been shot down up to yesterday, this is now one of the worst autumn hunting seasons in recent years.

“It is shameful that the Government remains a coward and does not find the courage to take any action,” it said.

Birdlife welcomed the support of UN Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh support and CABS latest statement indicating Malta was back to the years when enforcement was not effective.

It reiterated its plea to the government to suspend the hunting season immediately.

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