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Welcome to the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

Online dairy for CABS field operations for Autumn 2015.

Are you interested in keeping up to speed with how many illegal bird trappers and hunters we've helped convict this Autumn? How many traps and nets have we collected? How many caught wild birds have we set free? Figures such as these are just some of the results of our relentless fieldwork which we undertake thanks to the backing of our dedicated supporters.

Regular updates and information about our bird protection camps throughout the Mediterranean can be found here »»

Bird protection camp in Italy has come to an end:
50 poachers caught red-handed - 911 traps and109 nets seized (01.11.2015)

Italian job complete: Today, following 4 weeks of fieldwork CABS bird protection camp in Brescia (Northern Italy) comes to a close. Early this morning a team struck off the last known trapping site and dismantled 9 bow traps. All our participants are now on their way home. Thanks to our teams investigations, police have arrested 50 bird trappers (last year was 41) and 12 hunters killing protected species. Authorities have seized 109 mist nets, 401 bow traps, 510 snap traps, 12 illegally held shotguns (with over 100 rounds of ammunition) and around 400 frozen songbirds as well as approximately 150 live decoys.

A big thank you to the 60+ participants of the camp, the state forest police and all of our sponsors!

Cyprus bird protection camp has come to an end
33 poachers arrested - 2.730 limesticks dismantled (24.10.2015)

Today marks the end of the CABS bird protection camp in Cyprus. Breaking new ground, we helped police secure the arrest of 33 trappers and seized 2730 limesticks and 151 mist nets. Since mid September, 30 volunteers from all corners of Europe have come together to help disrupt the widespread trapping that occurs on the Mediterranean island. The number of convictions represents an all time high for the autumn season. The Cypriot police collected 1,376 limesticks , 120 nets and 51 electronic decoys - but a further 1,354 limesticks and 31 nets were unveiled by the our dedicated team. We also set a new record by liberating more than 950 birds from an otherwise doomed fate!

An overview of the results of our Cyprus operations since 2001 can be found here »»

Movie " Emptying the Skies " is now online (20.10.2015)

The film jointly developed with the American writer Jonathan Franzen "Emptying the Skies " is currently available online. Franzen and his team accompanied CABS members for two years to witness the work we do and the threats faced around poaching and trapping of birds across the Mediterranean - the result is a detailed portrait of our dedicated and brave bird conservationists. The Arabic television channel Al Jazeera is airing the film for a limited time on its website. An absolute 'must see' for those of us interested in learning about the war on wildbirds in Europe:

Al Jazeera: "Emptying the skies"

Malta: 8000 Euro record fine for illegal bird trapping (13.10.2015)

A bird trapper from Gozo has been found guilty of illegal finch trapping close to San Lawrenz during the closed season in spring 2015. Today, he was handed a fine of 8000 Euros and has his trapping permit and hunting licence revoked for life. The case was reported to the police by a CABS team on 23 March 2015 after the volunteers observed and photographed the man operating an active clap net and an illegal electronic bird caller to attract finches to his trapping site. The man is a repeat offender with at least one prior conviction related to illegal trapping of birds. CABS president Heinz Schwarze welcomed the verdict as a “very clear and strong signal to poachers that the society is not going to tolerate their actions anymore”. The fine is probably the highest fine for a single case of illegal bird trapping in Maltese history.

Read more about our work on Malta here »»

Malta bird protection camp has come to an end (04.10.2015)

Malta bird protection camp completed: Since 11/09 26 CABS supporters joined forces to provide eyes and ears during the peak migration period across the Mediterranean Island. The number of the illegal incidents is at a historic low and thousands of migratory birds were able to fly over Malta without persecution. However, there is still much to be done, as several protected birds including a hoopoe and a spoonbill were confirmed shot, along with cases of illegal trapping. Other protected species were observed with injuries conducive with shot damage and yesterday news emerged of an alleged incident of a white stork being gunned down near Gharb, on Malta's sister island Gozo.

Read more about the CABS work on Malta here »»

Malta and Cyprus: Bird protection camps starts (11.09.2015)

Our bird protection camps on the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Cyprus today have now begun. Until the beginning of October more than 22 CABS members from across Europe will join forces to monitor the passage and roosting areas of various species of birds of prey and storks. We will also be on the look out for bird trapping sites (particularly) targeting waders, finches and songbirds which is illegal for all species at this time of year. On Cyprus, around 30 participants are expected at the CABS bird protection camp which runs until mid October. Our aim is to record the scale of illegal trapping sites with mist nets and limesticks, targeting songbirds to feed the illegal restaurant trade. With continual improvement and cooperation with the Cypriot Anti Poaching Squad we will seek out active trapping sites in an effort to catch the perpetrators red handed.

Learn more about the ongoing work in the Mediterranean via our online diary »»

Cyprus: Clear no by EC to selective blackcap hunting (14.09.2015)

BirdLife Cyprus, CABS and other NGOs are justified, as their strong opposition to the proposal by the Ministry of Interior to allow the hunting of blackcaps, through the Strategic Action Plan which was adopted last May, is proven to be on a correct basis. The justification of the environmental organisations comes through the publication of the negative response of the European Commission to the Republic of Cyprus, sent last August. According to press articles, the European Commission makes clear that the “alternative plan” for the selective hunting of blackcaps cannot proceed, as the criteria set out by the European Birds Directive are not met. Consequently, the blackcap remains a protected species, while hunting blackcaps and trapping with non-selective methods, such as mist nets and limesticks, are not allowed. (picture © Tony Hisgett Wikimedia)

Read more in our actual press release »»

Poaching of Ortolan buntings in the Landes département:
The French government continues to turn a blind eye! (27.08.2015)

From 9 o´clock this morning, 27.08.2015, teams of LPO and CABS are, once again, on the ground in the Landes département, south-west France taking action to expose the poaching of Ortolan buntings that takes place here. Until now 36 sites have been identified with cage traps containing captured birds, and decoys. Many of the decoy birds could be released. Other wounded birds were taken to rehabilitation centres. The authorities habe been informed about the illegal trapping installations - criminal proceedings are initiated.

Read more about our operations in southwest France in the LPO´s actual press release »»

CABS release field report for spring 2015 Bird Protection Camp in Cyprus (11.08.2015)

The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has released today their new field report for their Spring 2015 Bird Protection Camp (BPC) in Cyprus. During joint field operations with police units, 17 poachers were caught and prosecuted for illegal bird trapping, while at 18 other trapping sites only confiscation of illegal trapping paraphernalia was made. In total, 1400 limesticks and 25 mist nets were seized. The number of confiscated limesticks and mist nets is the lowest ever recorded. Despite the low amount of seized traps, the number of prosecutions made by the competent anti-poaching agencies is record high.

You can use the Field Report and the Press Release here »»

Happy Birthday CABS -
40 years of Committee Against Bird Slaughter (07.07.2015)

Today Committee Against Bird Slaughter celebrate our birthday: On July 7, 1975, we were officially registered as an Non Governmental Organisation. Over the past 40 years we have achieved a lot: From tireless campaigning which brought an end to bird trapping across Belgium, Germany and Italy, to field operations which have led to the arrest of thousands of illegal hunters and trappers and removing more than 370,000 illegally set traps. Illegal poaching of wild birds is now on the decline in almost all of operational areas through out the Mediterranean region.

A report summarising the past 40 years of work can be found here »»

Illegal trapping site shut down in the Black Forest (29.06.2015)

CABS members discovered the site today following a tip off from a member of public in Rheinhausen (district of Emmendingen). Three illegal traps were discovered, including a clap net and two cage traps used to target wild birds. The photo shows one of our officers (authorised by the police) seizing one of the clap nets this afternoon. The landowner confessed to setting up the traps. As a clear cut violation of the federal Nature Conservation Act, criminal proceedings will be brought against the suspect in due course.

Sicily: 15 Bonelli eaglets have fledged (20.06.2015)

Good news from our Bonellis Eagle conservation project in Sicily: Thanks to the the 24/7 nestwatch of several nests in the south of the island no incidents were recorded and 15 eaglets have fledged the nests in good condition. However, in the centre of Sicily poachers are still at it: Two Bonelli´s nests, which were not monitored permanently, have been persecuted there. CABS denounces these illegal acts but at the same time stresses that illegal theft of eggs and nestlings in Sicily has drastically declined since the beginning of the project in 2010. This has lead to an increase in reproduction as well as the number of breeding pairs of this endangered species.

CABS Spring Bird Protection Camps 2015

From March 6 until 17 May 2015 with thanks to our financial supporters and partner associations CABS have completed 10 bird protection camps throughout the Mediterranean this spring. The season has proved to be our most successful bird conservation actions since the creation of the Committee back in 1975. The incidents of illegal poaching have never been so calm as spring 2015. Our work which started several decades ago is increasingly noticeable. In total about 1.800 bird traps and 65 mist and clap nets have been seized, 58 poachers were caught red-handed.

You can find our final report here »»

Italy - CABS operations on Ischia are complete (11.5.2015)

Our bird protection camp on the Italian Mediterranean island of Ischia ended yesterday. Together with our Italian colleagues from the WWF and the ENPA, we found a total of 8 active trapping sites for Whinchat, nightingales and other late migrating wild birds. Two poachers were arrested by the Carabinieri thanks to our intelligence gathering and 122 snap traps were seized. In the 1990s, we typically recorded up to 1,200 wildlife offences a year - so here too, our efforts to protect wild birds has become clearly noticeable. "La Repubblika", the biggest Italian newspaper, also reported on the CABS bird protection camp:

La Repubblica: "Bracconaggio a Ischia, maxi sequestro di trappole"

CABS spring bird protection camp on Malta and Gozo is complete
In terms of illegal incidents recorded it proved to be the most silent spring across the archipelago since 2001 (4.5.2015)

The large scale camp ended yesterday. For two weeks, a total of 28 CABS members from Great Britain, France, Malta and Germany monitored migration routes and roosting areas during the spring hunting season. There was an increased enforcement response following the referendum to ensure the season was effectively regulated. It seems a significant change is finally taking place as we have never observed so few hunting violations as we have this April. On 27/04 the spring hunting season was closed prematurely by the government following several documented kills of cuckoos and a kestrel which crash landed in a school yard. The majority of protected migratory birds passed over the islands undisturbed on the way to their European breeding grounds and the camp was a great success. Thanks to participants, volunteers and donors!

You can find out more about our actions in Malta here »»

Malta: 127 illegal finch trapping sites spotted from the air
Massive increase compared to last year, 7 trappers apprehended (30.03.2015)

Aerial survey flights conducted earlier this month revealed a massive increase of illegal finch trapping in spring, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) said. Despite only 30% of Malta and Gozo being covered by the flight a total of 127 active clap netting sites were photographed. During a similar count last year only 51 sites could be located on 30% of the islands. "The derogation for trapping in autumn revived the black market for live songbirds and led to a massive increase in prices which in turn also encouraged illegal trapping in spring.", CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said.

Read more in our actual press release »»

Malta: CABS publishes poaching statistics for 2014 (10.03.2015)

The Committee Against Bird Slaughter has published a data summary of all hunting and trapping related offences and illegalities observed by its teams on Malta and Gozo in 2014. The data where gathered by CABS volunteers and staff members during operations in March to May and from July to December last year. Added together a total of 121 cases of illegal hunting, 163 cases related to illegal trapping as well as 251 cases which involved the illegal use of bird callers have been recorded.

You can read more here »»

Italy bans bird trapping
A milestone for the protection of migratory birds in Europe (03.12.14)

The Italian government has finally banned the catching of wild birds today. The last major trapping installations (known as ‘Roccoli’) which were still active in Northern Italy must immediately cease operations. For many years the issue has been raised with the European Union for the blatant breach of the EU Birds Directive. The campaign was initiated by the Italian Organisations LIPU and LAC and the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS).

The exciting details of this huge success can be found here »»