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Press release - Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Operation "Fatal flight" to begin on Friday

NGO confirms ´massive´ ALE turnover - bird trapper apprehended near Buskett

Osprey (© Hans Glader)Osprey (© Hans Glader)In the last days autumn migration of birds has kicked in with good numbers of Marsh Harriers, falcons as well as the first flocks of herons and Honey Buzzards as well as a total of more than 100 Greater Flamingos arriving and roosting on Malta and Gozo, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) said today. To ensure the safe passage of protected birds CABS announced that it will conduct a large ´bird protection camp´ against illegal hunting and bird trapping on Malta from September 12 until 5 October. A total of 18 experienced birdwatchers and activists from the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands as well as a number of local supporters will be involved in operation "Fatal flight" referring to the same-titled book about bird hunting written by Maltese journalist Natalino Fenech in 1992.

"There was a lot of improvement for birds in the last 2 decades but since the new government is in power many achievements such as the afternoon hunting curfew and the ban on finch trapping have been lifted", CABS president Heinz Schwarze said. The organisation also confirmed reports in local newspapers about a massive turnover and the forced transfer of many experienced ALE seargents and officers in the last months. "We have been informed that many officers who have worked with us in the past have been transferred to other units against their will. Their experience and know-how to bring poachers to justice will be missed this season. It is hard to believe that this is just a coincidence", Schwarze said.

This morning an advance staff team of CABS spotted an illegal trapping site for songbirds near Buskett (Malta) and alerted the authorities. A joint police-army patrol arrived at the scene and apprehended the trapper who is expected to be taken to court soon. 6 live protected finches and pipits as well as a large clap net were confiscated. Last weekend an illegal trapping site for Ortolan Bunting and Dotterel was discovered at Gharghur, with a live Dotterel decoy and an electronic bird caller being played. The trapper escaped but nets were taken by police. In addition CABS has informed the police about several other sites around Malta where electronic bird callers - mainly for Dotterel - can be heard at the moment.

Contact for photographic and video material and other information: CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld, Telephone +0049 228 665521 or Email: CABS@komitee.de