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PRESS RELEASE 30. October 2018

34 cases of illegal trapping detected by CABS in only 2 weeks
Major clampdown on on Gozo

Video shows poachers hiding their faces, running away from police

Malta & Gozo. Volunteers of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) have documented and reported 34 cases of illegal bird trapping to the police in the last two weeks. These included 12 incidents in which CABS activists filmed finch-trappers red-handed and called the police. CABS said that a total of 19 suspects were involved in these 12 incidents, 10 of which have already been identified by the police and are expected to be taken to court. „We are still analysing our video footage and are confident that the material will lead to more arrests in the coming days“, CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said. She added that CABS reports also resulted in the confiscation of 61 live protected birds, 15 clap nets and extensive paraphernalia used to trap protected finches.

In addition to these 12 cases CABS also reported the locations of an additional 22 unregistered trapping sites to the police. „All of these sites were found cleared and with freshly installed clap nets on them. Gozo contains a much greater concentration of illegal sites according to our results“, Ms. Burrows stated.

CABS today also published footage from last weekend which shows several Gozitan poachers in desperate attempts to hide their faces when they realise that their illegal activity is being filmed. The footage also documents how the men hastily collect cages with live finches and run off when they see the police coming. CABS said that at least one of the poachers has already been identified and will face trial soon. It turned out that he registered the site he used for illegal finch trapping as a live capturing station for Song Thrush and Golden Plover. According to the new regulations his license will be revoked. On top of that the man sees his trapping equipment and 6 live birds (2 linnet, 2 chaffinch, 2 song thrush) confiscated.

The new video has been published on Facebook and can be watched here: https://www.facebook.com/CABS2011/videos/250062422527259/

CABS said that the results of their ongoing fieldwork are strong proof that the new trapping derogation is systematically misused to trap finches and other protected birds. „We wonder how many additional cases have been uncovered by the police and WBRU due to their own investigations and monitoring work“, CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said adding that the cases reported by CABS are just a small fraction of the true scale of illegalities. „Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri must accept the fact that most trappers don´t give a damn about his plea to follow the rules and instead continue to trap protected finches at an unprecedented scale. The only way to safeguard his credibility and to stop the ongoing poaching is to close the season with immediate effect“.

Contact for more information: CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld, +49 1794803805 or Email to CABS@komitee.de