And no, we’re not talking about Malta being on the red travel list again.
BirdLife International has just released the updated European Red List of Birds - a report that gives a rundown of the conservation statuses of 544 bird species found in Europe. Shockingly, it was concluded that one in five species are now considered threatened by extinction, meaning that 71 bird species in Europe are at risk.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, after all of the recent reports of shootings of protected bird species on the island, the Red List includes several bird species commonly found passing over Malta. Unfortunately, they’re spotted especially during their autumn migration period, which just so happens to collide with the hunting season, here in Malta.
Here are six of these species which can be found in Malta:
1. The European Turtle-dove
What has always been a symbol of love and unity, the turtle-dove (or Gamiema in Maltese) is now listed as ‘Vulnerable to Extinction’, in the updated Red List. The intensive farming that goes on around the Maltese Islands, and the fact that Malta, and some other EU States continue to allow the hunting of this species, are the factors to blame for the drastic decline in the population of this species.
2. The Quail
The quail (Summiena), went from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Near Threatened’ status over the last few years, after experiencing a massive slump in population size.
3. The Northern Pintail and the Common Snipe
Similar to the quail, the conservation status of the northern pintail and the common snipe has changed from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Vulnerable’. Sadly, these birds are still hunted freely during the autumn migration period when passing over Malta.
4. The Black-Necked Grebe and Common Swift
The black-necked grebe and common swift are also experiencing a great decrease in numbers sadly, due to the loss of their habitats.
If you’re curious to learn more, read up on the full list here. This research puts the current hunting practices into perspective and begs the question: is there any sustainability in the current hunting regulations across Europe, and mainly, in Malta? Rather than hunting and shooting these beautiful creatures, we should be creating a safe haven for them and welcoming them with open arms.
Do you feel like we’re taking advantage of the beautiful nature we’re lucky to be surrounded by?