Kieran Dodds

Bugibba, MALTA

Marianne Leenders, 57, from southern Netherlands. 'I came first to Malta as a tourist. One day at temple at sunset it was so beautiful but then I saw all the hunting hides and trapping sites. So many around there, very strange. I started reading about it and a a friend told me about the problems. -- To me, the camp is like a virus- it gets in your genes. I tell my grandkids about it. Grandma is on migration again. I am here for 2 weeks (17 days) and it's my 5th time since 2010. I have four sons and 4 grandchildren. -- In 2010, the hunters were very agressive. One day we had off because people were so upset at painted swastikas and rotten fish left at watch points. They were verbally agreessive too. Two Maltese and an Italian guy got physically attacked and had to go to hospital. -- If a special bird lands on the island you can see the cars driving like maniacs chasing that bird. One moment enjoy the beauty of nature and the next is so sick. We see spoonbills shot in the breast and through their spoon. The hunters get depression if they don't hunt, some have killed themselves because they could not hunt again.'Under EU leglislation, hunting or trapping birds in spring is illegal but the government of Malta, which joined the EU in 2004, allows hunting of turtle dove and quail at this time of year. Some 170 species of bird pass over Malta during the spring and autumn migration periods. Hunters regularly shoot other species including birds of prey which are stuffed for private collection. Spring Watch Malta is a conservation camp run by BirdLife Malta, a non-profit which l

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Kieran Dodds
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