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Welcome to the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)


Operations and events 2014
CABS presents its Annual Report (19.12.2014)

In 2014 more than 180 nature and wildlife lovers from all over Europe took part in operations in France, Spain, Germany, Italy and on Cyprus and Malta. Our teams collected and either destroyed or handed over to the police large numbers of bird killing and live bird trapping equipment: 2,010 horsehair snares, 15.961 limesticks, 736 bow traps, 695 snap or clutch traps and 231 mist nets. More than 100 poachers were caught red-handed and will be prosecuted.

You can read more about this all-round successful year in our online Annual Report 2014.


Malta: Widespread illegal night trapping and use of illegal bird callers
Governments’ quota system reduced to absurdity (10.12.2014)

Right at the start of the Golden Plover migration the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has urged the government to stop trapping of Golden Plovers (Maltese name: Pluviera) as widespread illegal night trapping makes a mockery of the real-time monitoring and quota system introduced by the authorities to ensure that only a limited number of birds is caught. "Since the season started we have conducted night surveys which proved that the majority of trapping sites registred for plovers are manned and active during the night when the plovers migrate and enforcement is at zero", CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said.

Our actual press relaese and a new video can be found here »»


Autumn actions 2014 come to an end
More than 16.700 traps and nets dismantled (07.12.2014)

With the end of our last bird protection camp in Malta also concludes our field operations against bird poaching this autumn. Since 30/07/2014, more than 150 volunteers from all corners of Europe have assisted the authorities by participating in our bird protection camps in France, Spain, Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Overall, 13,175 limesticks, 2,010 horsehair snares, 736 Bow traps, 399 Snap traps, 166 other animal traps and 247 nets were found and removed. 119 poachers were arrested thanks to intelligence gained from our field investigations.

Read more details about the bird protection camps in our online diary»»


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 »»


Sardinia camp has come to an end
2,010 illegal snares dismantled - 5 poachers convicted (01.12.2014)

Dismantling of illegal snares on SardiniaDismantling of illegal snares on SardiniaAfter four weeks of fieldwork our Sardinia camp has now come to an end. A total of 2,010 horsehair snares (for trapping songbirds) and approximately 30 wire snares (for trapping wild boar and deer) were collected across the Italian Mediterranean island. A total of 5 poachers were convicted thanks to our investigations. Two other men with previous convictions for illegal trapping and prohibition orders preventing access the trapping sites, were once again found to be operating within the prohibited areas. Furthermore, the police seized more than 500 frozen birds from warrants executed at residential properties. The next CABS camp on Sardinia begins at Christmas - starting on December 25!

Read more about our camps on Sardinia here »»


Malta: Massive bird trapping inside NATURA 2000 sites
Newly-built trapping sites operate despite legislation (18.11.2014)

Malta: Bird trappers have literally carpeted large areas of protected coastline habitats with hundreds of trapping sites, CABS said today. Aerial surveys conducted by the organisation resulted so far in the count of a minimum of 290 active bird trapping installations within NATURA 2000 protected zones on Malta and Gozo. On their webpage and on Facebook CABS have published aerial pictures which furnish proof of the high density of active clap nets as well as destruction of protected vegetation inside NATURA 2000 sites near Zurrieq and Hal Far. Counts of trapping sites in other protected landscapes, such as garrigue are still being calculated, as well as sites with too many nets and sites with nets larger than the allowed size.

Read more in our actual press release »»


Italy: Brescia bird protection camp concludes
Historic low incidents of poaching in Northern Italy (04.11.2014)

Shot HawfinchShot HawfinchThe CABS bird protection camp in Brescia (Northern Italy) has come to a successful end after four weeks. The 60 volunteers who have taken part since 3 October searched for and located numerous illegal bird trapping sites across the Southern Alps. These locations were either reported to police or mist nets and traps dismantled and destroyed in situ. Based on information we provided to police 39 poachers were caught red handed and 735 bow traps, 398 snap traps, 56 mist nets and 23 limesticks were collected by volunteers or seized by the police. This is the lowest number of trapping devices found since the camp first began in 1984. The decline in illegal poaching continues!

A detailed report will be be published during November. Until then, you can see a summary report in the Camp Dairy dated 03/11/2014 »»


Autumn Bird Protection Camp in Spain ends
29 poachers arrested and 9,500 limesticks seized (02.11.2014)

The CABS bird protection camp in Eastern Spain has now finished. Over the course of the 10 day camp across the provinces of Alicante, Valencia, Castellon and Tarragona and in cooperation with the Guardia Civil, a total of 23 trapping installations known as ‘Parany’ (used to target thrushes and warblers) were dismantled and a huge haul of 9,500 limesticks seized. Each night the police conducted patrols between 7pm-7am to search and check the large trapping enclosures which are stocked full with limesticks and operated only during the hours of darkness. As a result, 29 poachers were apprehended. Unlike previous years, the number of active parany has declined significantly - seems our actions are making a difference!

A small final report will be published later in November.


Malta: Permits for ´supersize-trapping-sites´ criticised
Bag limit for finches already exploited by poachers (16.10.2014)

CABS has criticised the opening of the bird trapping season on Malta next Monday as a clear breach of the EU´s Birds Directive. The NGO announced that it will monitor the situation in the field with two teams until December. The volunteers will document the amount and impact of trapping on the countryside as well as report any misuse to the police. A detailed report will also be sent to the European Commission in Brussels which is currently preparing infringement procedures against Malta over the comeback of finch trapping.

Read our actual press release here»»


Malta: Blow against illegal finch trade in Rabat (27.09.2014)

Bird trappers have illegally offered Greenfinches for sale in the city centre of Rabat, approximately 50 metres away from the police station. A CABS covert team – disguised as tourists – visited the place this morning and witnessed how birds have been offered for sale between 30 and 100 Euros each. “We saw about 20 cages with Greenfinches placed on a wall and many people standing around. We asked one of the men what he was doing and he answered that he is selling the birds”, said CABS volunteer Jonathan Blair. “When we saw that most of the birds had no rings we alerted the police”. A joint AFM/ALE patrol as well a MEPA official arrived at the scene within 20 minutes. The birds and their owners were brought to the Rabat police station where the men have been questioned.

Read more in our today´s press release »»


Malta: CABS praises PM´s decision to close hunting season (20.09.14)

CABS today welcomed the decision of the Maltese government to close the hunting season due to the large number of protected birds killed in the last days. “We raise our hats to the Prime minister for having the nerves to make this momentous decision. I am sure it was a tough call but the situation was really out of control in parts of the island.”, CABS president Heinz Schwarze said. “After months of empty rethoric coming from his Parliamentary Secretary for Animal Rights Dr Muscat has shown that he really means business”.

Our press release can be found here »»

Read an actual article in the Times of Malta »»


Malta: Hunters target protected raptors - again! (19.09.2014)

This morning a CABS team observed a protected Marsh Harrier being shot down east of Safi, only 150 metres away from the runway strip of the Malta International Airport. The bird was shot from and fell into a property surrounded by high walls and monitored by several CCTV cameras. CABS said that the property is exclusively used for hunting and has been the scene of several bird of prey massacres in the last years. In another incident a CABS team filmed a Marsh Harrier being shot down at the Dingli cliffs this afternoon at 16:45 PM. Furthermore CABS today released a picture of a Honey Buzzard with severe shotgun injuries. The photo was taken close to Buskett Gardens.

Our actual press release about the ongoing poaching on Malta can be read here »»


Malta: Hunters kill protected birds
Bird Guards film a Grey Heron being shot down at Bidni (16.09.2014)

In the last 24 hours teams of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) witnessed hunters shooting down 4 protected birds. These include a Kestrel killed near Safi at around 7:35 AM this morning, a Honey Buzzard which was shot down in Has-Saptan valley today at around 8:15 AM and a Grey Heron which was blasted out of the sky close to Bidni at 8:23 AM.

Our press release from 16.09.2014 and the actual video from the shot down of the Grey Heron can be found here»»


Operation "Fatal flight" to begin on Friday
NGO confirms ´massive´ ALE turnover (10.09.2014)

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, 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 as well as a number of local supporters will be involved in operation "Fatal flight". CABS confirmed reports about a massive turnover and the forced transfer of many experienced ALE seargents and officers in the last months.

Read our actual press release here »»


CABS and SPA release their Cyprus Spring 2014 Bird Protection Camp Field Report (05.09.2014)

In 2014, the 7th Spring Bird Protection Camp was conducted over a period of four weeks, from 6 to 19 April and from 28 to 9 May, to cover the most of the pre-nuptial migration. A total of 11 volunteers, from Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Slovenia participated in the camp. As a result of the 23 days of joint operations with the Cyprus Police Anti-Poaching Squad, 2,256 limesticks, 27 mist nets and 10 electronic decoys were seized. In addition, more than 700 protected wild birds were found dead and collected as evidences, while dozens of birds in captivity were released from traps and aviaries. In total, 15 poachers were caught red-handed and prosecuted by the Anti-Poaching Squad of the Cyprus Police.

You can download the report here »»


Violent ´Gangster style´ attack on CABS team in France
Bird trapper arrested (02.09.2014)

French bird trappers have savagely attacked a team of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) with tear gas and nearly killed a German birdwatcher with a tractor. The incident which took place yesterday afternoon near the town of Tartas in the Southwest of France is the latest in a series of acts of violence against conservationists who work against the illegal trapping of the Ortolan Bunting. The trapper was arrested and being questioned in the Tartas police station until late yesterday evening.

Read more in our actual press release »»


CABS Ortolan Bunting bird protection camp has begun
CABS volunteers search for traps in South-West France (29.08.2014)

The CABS Ortolan camp in France starts today: Until 2 September, CABS members from Germany and Italy will search for Ortolan trapping sites in the south west of France. In the Les Landes département tens of thousands of the endangered buntings are caught every year. The animals are captured, fattened over a period of weeks, finally they are drowned in alcohol and sold to supposed “gourmets” for hundred of euros. The authorities mostly turn a blind eye to this. Our teams will try to force the police to intervene at active trapping sites.

You can find more information on our anti-Ortolan Bunting trapping operations here»»

Reports about the progress of the operation can be found in the Online Diary »


Ischia: 138 illegal traps and 722 cartridges confiscated

Operations against illegal songbird trapping in Italy: In the last 5 days our Bird Guards have located and dismantled a total of 114 illegal snap traps and 2 large bow traps for songbirds on the island of Ischia. Also on Ischia, an operation conducted by the game wardens of the WWF in cooperation with CABS led to the arrest of a poacher targeting protected Whinchats, Pied Flycatchers and Nightingales. A police search in the house of the man resulted in the confiscation of 3 shotguns, 722 shotgun cartridges, 16 dead protected birds and 2 dozends of illegal traps. The man is expected to be arraigned in court soon.