Three protected birds were killed and a rare black stork which roosted at the Għadira Nature Reserve on Friday night was spotted with an injury to one of its legs, possibly as a result of a gunshot wound, BirdLife Malta said.
Dozens of protected birds are known to have been shot since the start of the year, a trend which confirms that 2018 will be the worst year in the last six years for illegal hunting, BLM said.
Rare black storks were pictured by BirdLife Malta birdwatchers as they flew over Buskett and Girgenti in the afternoon.
BLM earlier received a report of a large bird being shot down over Xlendi cliffs in Gozo which landed in the sea. The police were informed immediately.
A man was spotted going with a boat to collect it and leaving the scene.
Although it is not clear what the bird was, BirdLife Malta can confirm that an investigation is being held in regard to this case.
A total of 20 protected birds have been gunned down and seen by the government vet since the start of the autumn hunting season on September 1.
The 24 known protected birds shot down are just the tip of the iceberg as many other shot birds would have not been retrieved and the number does not include birds seen flying with injuries, a spokesman said.
The total also does not include the latest three known casualties collected in the past 24 hours which are being seen by the vet on Saturday – a dead Grey Heron collected from the sea at Għadira and two Bee-eaters which were found in Dingli and Mqabba. All were confirmed shot by the government vet.
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