Model aircraft films bird trappers on Malta - drone shot down by hunters
Police seize nets and protected birds
A model aircraft employed by the German TV station RTL to discover active illegal trapping sites, was shot down this morning with rifle fire by hunters near Marsascala in the south of Malta. the aircraft, equipped with a video camera, was hit yesterday by shotgun pellets, but no serious damage was caused.
The aircraft has been operating since the beginning of the week and, despite a total ban on trapping, has already detected and filmed four active trapping installations from the air. “In all cases the ALE were immediately informed of the precise location of the clap nets” states CABS spokesperson Axel Hirschfeld. Following the detection of two trapping installations yesterday in the vicinity of Fiddien Reservoir, a huge installation was found this morning on the southernmost point of the Delimara Peninsula. ”The video film shows clearly several large clap nets as well as plastic decoys of protected bird species”. An ALE patrol alerted by the Bird Guards was on the scene in minutes and investigated the well-concealed installation. Their check discovered some half a dozen protected bird species including two Robins, a Yellow Wagtail and several Collared Doves. The owner of the installation is to be charged.
The police take the downing of the aircraft over the Marsascala cliffs on 26 April extremely seriously as it appears that large calibre ammunition, forbidden on Malta, was used to shoot down the plane.
The ‘Eye in the Sky’ is operated by a Swiss electronics engineer, whose company specialises in the production and sale of flight devices with high-resolution video cameras . The device was chartered by a RTL camera team, currently filming a documentary on CABS work on Malta.
Ten Bird Guards from the Bonn-based Committee Against Bird Slaughter have been active on Malta and Gozo since last weekend, with the task of recording contraventions of bird protection and hunting regulations during the current spring hunting season and to report them to the police. Since Saturday numerous offences have been registered, and in some cases filmed, including the shooting down of three Marsh Harriers near Safi and Delimara, the use of automatic weapons and electronic decoys, as well over 450 shots fired during the hunting curfew on Sundays and after 3.00 pm on weekdays. On Sunday, close to the Red Tower on Marfa Ridge, a CABS team disturbed a trapper red-handed catching Turtle Doves with a clap net. Here again ALE officers were rapidly on the scene and seized two clap nets and a live Turtle Dove decoy.