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Diary of the 2016 autumn actions

From late August to December 2016 the bird protection camps of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) will be active throughout the poaching hotspots around the Mediterranean instead. Operations are planned in Italy, France, Serbia, Malta, Spain and Cyprus.

Our Bird Protection Camps are mainly financed by donations. In addition, the Foundation Pro Biodiversity , the Karl Kaus Foundation and the Landesbund für Vogelschutz Bayern (LBV - ´Birdlife Bavaria´) fund our work for better protection of migratory birds in Europe.


Total results autumn 2016:

  • Bow traps collected: 0
  • Snap traps collected: 109
  • Mist nets collected: 70
  • Limesticks collected: 1.495
  • Snares collected: 0
  • Other traps collected: 0
  • Poachers caught red-handed: 31

Figures last updated: 04.10.2016


04/10/2016, Cyprus

CABS-Team an Chris Packham (middle, with olive shirt) with dismantled netsCABS-Team an Chris Packham (middle, with olive shirt) with dismantled netsThis week UK naturalist and wildlife presenter Chris Packham joined our CABS team on the ground in Cyprus to document the extent of illegal bird killing occurring across the Mediterranean island. Each year an estimated 2+ million birds are trapped and killed as a lucrative and ‘traditional’ delicacy known as Ambelopoulia. The majority of the killing fields are situated around Farmagusta and the British Sovereign Base Areas in the South-East of the island, where we frequently find industrial scale guarded trapping installations containing large mist-nets, limesticks and choruses of electronic decoys used to lure the birds.

Watch Chris’s recent Periscope report here ...


01/10/2016, Brescia (Italy)

Chaffinch in a netChaffinch in a netThe large CABS bird protection camp in the mountains of Brescia has begun today. From today until the beginning of November 2016, our volunteers will scour the Southern Alps for illegal bird trapping sites and refer our findings to a special unit of the Italian Forest Police to ensure the offenders meet justice. We expect around 80 nature and animal lovers from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, Spain, Slovenia, Malaysia and the USA. With your support, we were able to extend the bird protection camp for a week and for the first time ever maintain a presence for five weeks around the peak migration (and trapping) period!


27/09/2016, Malta

White Storks on 27.9.2016 on MaltaWhite Storks on 27.9.2016 on MaltaOnce again a CABS team has safe guarded the flyway for a flock of storks migrating through Malta. Last night, 6 white storks arrived on the Mediterranean island from Sicily. They settled on the fenced Freeport facility – where they were safe, at least during the overnight roost. This morning, the birds spent a short time circling over the south of the island (photo) until around 10am when they left Hal Far and made out to sea towards Africa. A CABS team maintained a visual presence and monitored the whole passage to ensure the storks evaded persecution … a big thanks go to our dedicated volunteers!


25/09/2016, Cyprus

Rescued Little Owl (Cyprus)Rescued Little Owl (Cyprus)Owls are all too often the victims of poachers in Cyprus. They are killed without particular reason and left on the ground. We often find them, whilst searching for traps in the field. This week, we found 3 dead owls - 2 barn owls and 1 little owl. Fortunately we were at the right place and at the right time to rescue a scops owl from a net (picture).

Our Bird Protection Camp has entered its third week and so far we have seized 1495 limesticks and 68 mist nets together with police. 15 persons were caught and face prosecution for trapping.


24/09/2016, Malta

Killing of a protected Honey Buzzard on Malta, 24.09.2016Killing of a protected Honey Buzzard on Malta, 24.09.2016Next Honey Buzzard gunned down on Malta – Despite the public outcry about the shooting of more than 20 protected birds last week the illegal killing continues. This morning our volunteers filmed how a hunter shot down a protected Honey Buzzard on the Gebel Ciantar plateau at 7:29am. The bird was part of a group of buzzards which had roosted in Buskett Gardens and was shot down seconds before it was about to reach the sea at Ghar Lapsi. At least 5 hunters were seen hunting in the area where the bird fell down. Instead of helping to catch the poacher all of them either continued hunting or left the area before the police arrived 45 minutes after CABS alerted the headquarters. Officers of the Administrative Law Enforcement (ALE) searched the area but were not able to find either the shot bird or to identify the poacher. You can see the video here:

"Illegal Hunting on Malta 2016 - Honey Buzzard killed in Fawwarra 24.9.2016"


21/09/2016 Serbia

Seized bird callers and quailsSeized bird callers and quailsThe CABS Bird Protection Campaign in Serbia has ended. For the past 3 weeks our team has helped Serbian activists to locate and report illegal quail shooting with the use of electronic quail callers. Our field work revealed the massive extent of poaching occurring. We found 56 quail callers in 41 locations. All cases were immediately reported to local police and hunting inspectors. Callers were seized by police and 21 hunters were caught and face prosecution. We estimate that more than 1000 callers are active every night in Serbia resulting in thousands of quails killed each night. We are determined to stop this slaughter and we will prepare a large anti-poaching operation together with activists from Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia for next year.


17/09/2016, Cyprus

Bee-eater on a limestickBee-eater on a limestickThanks to our CABS team in Cyprus, this Bee-eater had a lucky escape and was able to continue its journey back to Africa. The bird was discovered glued to a limestick in Sotira, South-eastern Cyprus. A further 40 limesticks were also found in the surrounding vegetation. After cleaning its feathers our team released the bird unharmed (although probably a little shocked!).

Our autumn bird protection has been running for 9 days – so far we have collected 940 limesticks, 39 large mist nets and ensured 7 poachers were arrested.


13/09/2016, Malta

Roosting Storks at Kirkop (Malta)Roosting Storks at Kirkop (Malta)Stork rescue: Of the 4 ringed Italian white storks that arrived on Monday evening in Malta, one was shot. By last night the other three made it to Kirkop in the south of the Mediterranean island and settled in an industrial building for the night (see photo). Yesterday morning, a large contingent of conservationists monitored the birds: together with employees of BirdLife Malta two teams of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter and several police officers secured the fly-way from poachers. The storks first flew over Kirkop and then turned to the airport, where they gained height and ultimately at 10am Malta exit towards Africa.


11/09/2016 Cyprus

Blackcap on limestickBlackcap on limestickThe CABS team in Cyprus are delivering god results: In just 4 days, together with the police, they have already found 462 lime sticks and dismantled 14 mist nets and 18 electronic decoys. 5 poachers face prosecution after our reports to police. More than a dozen imprisoned songbirds such as the Blackcap in the photo were freed unharmed. Although on one hand these results highlight the massive trapping problem on Cyprus, they are also pleasing on the other, because the more illegal trapping gear we discover and rendered harmless, the better the flyway for the birds!


02/09/2016 Southern France

Documentation of ortolan trapping in Landes/FranceDocumentation of ortolan trapping in Landes/FranceFilming in France: A CABS team has begun the search for illegal trapping sites targeting Ortolan Bunting in the French countryside yesterday. On the first day the team hit a great find. A huge trapping installation was discovered with 38 active traps and 5 live decoys (photo) near the city of Dax. The site was extensively documented (photo) and was reported to the French hunting authority of the ONCFS (Forest Service) this morning. Our investigations are accompanied by a team from the German broadcaster ARD, who are making a film about the plight of the last German Ortolan. The show will be broadcast in October.


30/08/2016 Serbia

Electronic decaoy in SerbiaElectronic decaoy in SerbiaCommittee staff are back in Northern Serbia with local conservationists to search and seek out illegal electronic decoys for Quail hunting. A device was found within just a few hours of commencing work near Kikinda in northern Serbia (photo). The police were informed – and will conduct further investigations to catch the culprit in the act.

In recent weeks, 10 locations have been reported and as a result five Serbian and two Italian hunters have been arrested.


27/08/2016 Northern Italy

Robin in a snap trapRobin in a snap trapIn Italy, the first bird trapper of the ‘autumn season’ has been convicted: In Marone (Brescia / Lombardy) a CABS team found a trapping site with numerous snap traps and informed the local forest police. Authorities attended the scene and managed to catch the poachers ‘in the act’ within just three hours of our initial report. 109 Snap traps, several dea tree pipits, pied flycatcher and robins were seized. Other trapping paraphernalia found at the scene remain under police surveillance.