A flock of 60 eagles in flight must be a majestic sight; a magnificent bird at the peak of its evolutionary cycle; a species millions of years in the making. Such a spectacle was about to grace our shores. It was not to be as these birds were shot at, maimed and decimated by ignorance.
Bird hunting in Malta is glorified as culture or even as tradition. To a degree, this is true but not for the reasons one might expect. The history of Malta, as that of all other countries, is a dismal tale of conflict, conquest and killing.
The human race has the dubious honour of being the most destructive and murderous species on this planet. In a way, we can, therefore, say that slaughter is part of our culture and tradition.
We consider ourselves to be civilised and outside of nature and have set up all sorts of institutions and belief systems to justify and support such a deluded thesis.A short toed eagles in flight – short toed eagles are decreasing in several countries in Europe due to changes in agriculture and land use
We continue to destroy species after species, driving each to extinction, never to be seen again. If you are not human, your days are numbered.
Millions upon millions of years of evolution and creative force brought to nought.
What we do to other species we do to each other. We are driven by dominance. Every nation, without exception, has been built on the genocide of its predecessors. To say that we have blood on our hands would be an understatement. We are covered in the blood of our collective ancestors and increasing numbers of extinct species.
This sad and horrendous state of affairs should be obvious to everybody as it is historical fact. It is not. Why? There is no conspiracy at work here. We simply appear to be unable to learn from history and totally incapable of perceiving any consequence arising from our actions that is further away than the tip of our nose.
Far and large, people have little or no knowledge of what has brought about the nations, culture and various economic systems that exist today and control our lives.
We blindly follow organised religion, governments and social norms.
On the one hand, one should take off one’s hat to religious organisations that have survived and thrived for 2,500, 2,000 or 1,500 years, just to name three.
On the other hand, one must surmise that in all these centuries religions have never been sensitive to environmental degradation or the wilful killing of any creature that is not human.A short rare toed eagle in flight over Malta – part of a flock of 15 eagles all shot dead or trapped by hunters in Malta
Religions teach tolerance and selflessness. Well, look around you or look up the very history of all major religions. I rest my case. Governments do not have any philosophical underpinning to redeem them. Politicians, and the governments they run, are held at ransom by votes. Even if we assume that they are honest and competent, their hands are tied. Their actions are motivated by survival strategies.
One is not really going to find any moral compass here.
All this happens while the rest of us plod on day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year living with blinkers on, as if in a vacuum, clueless about the past or the future.
You would be right to think that we should have learnt something better than this over the 200,000 years that we have trodden this planet upright on two legs.
It is not too late to take responsibility for our life, the earth and the countless species that coexist with us on this blue planet.
Let us stop now destroying our children’s future NOW.
UPDATE 2019 – Maltese hunters still killing Eagles
All but one of 15 Short-toed Eagles ‘shot dead’ – Birdlife
All but one of a flock of about 15 rare Short-toed Eagles [Ajkli Bojod] spotted on Saturday evening in the outskirts of Siġġiewi are believed to have been shot dead, BirldLife said.
In a statement on Monday, the NGO said the rare birds were observed settling in the outskirts of Siġġiewi and Rabat for the night, but only one was seen leaving on the following day. Footage, of this sole survivor was released by the NGO on YouTube.
BirdLife Malta members witnessed one of the Short-toed Eagles being shot down at Girgenti and police from the Administrative Law Enforcement (ALE) unit were called in immediately and searched the area. In the meantime, other birds scattered in the vicinity were trying to find a place to roost, the NGO said.
Moreover, shots were heard during and after sunset, and all areas where the birds roosted had intense hunting going on.
No arrests were made and no carcasses of dead birds were retrieved, it said. BirdLife said that monitoring by its volunteers continued in Sunday morning at 5am. Their worst fears that the birds might have all been shot before they actually managed to roost were confirmed, as only one bird was seen leaving Buskett at around 6.30am. The bird was later sighted in the north of Malta, the statement read.A short toed eagles in Malta – part of a flock of 15 eagles all shot dead or trapped by hunters in Malta
Incident reminiscent of past abuses
The NGO pointed out that this incident was reminiscent of past instances of illegal hunting, including in November 2016 when around 60 Booted and Short-toed Eagles were targeted by hunters in multiple incidents.
Back then, an incident at Tal-Virtù of a Booted Eagle being shot down had been filmed by BirdLife Malta and this had led to a hunter being jailed and fined. The case is now under appeal.
In another “massacre” three years earlier, on the October 23 2013, around 50 eagles (Short-toed, Booted and Lesser Spotted) migrating over Buskett also met the same fate. In this case 12 of the protected birds had been confirmed shot with many more witnessed being targeted by hunters.
Wildlife Crime Unit must be set up
In view of this BirdLife reiterated its call for the setting up of a Wildlife Crime Unit within the Malta Police Force, and make the necessary resources available to them in order to crackdown on illegal hunting.
The NGO is seeking the public’s support to trace the culprits, saying that any information on this case could be submitted anonymously on +356 7925 5697.
UPDATE 2020 – Maltese hunters continue killing Eagles
Article published in the Times of Malta on the 8th October 2020: A Dozen Protected Eagle Shot Down in Gozo (Malta)
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