Malta – 23. 11. 2017
WBRU refuse to investigate CABS reports about illegal bird trapping sites
Poacher fined 2000 Euros, loses hunting and trapping licence for life
Valletta. The Wild Bird Regulation Unit (WBRU) has refused to investigate reports from the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) about 177 trapping sites actively in use in areas banned for trapping. CABS said that even though trapping sites may only be licenced if they are located on agricultural land, it has identified a total of 177 active installations built mostly on protected garrigue (xaghri) habitat. Some sites have also been found erected within or on top of historical fortifications such as Fort Ricasoli and Notre Dame Bastion.
According to the legal framework for trapping (Subsidiary Legislation 549.93) live capturing stations for birds shall not be located in protected areas or on sites of historical or ecological importance. CABS said that it has provided the WBRU exact locations of the 177 suspicious sites on 30th October and offered to provide the photo evidence. After 3 weeks of silence CABS sent a reminder to WBRU´s head Sergei Golovkin who replied this Tuesday:"I am not in a position to divert our scarce resources from priority work, to perform a detailed check and provide you with the summary requested. This is not necessary, since field inspections and spot checks are ongoing on a daily basis to ascertain compliance with applicable regulations.“
CABS said that it cannot understand the government agency´s refusal, especially after last year a number of similar reports from CABS have lead to the confiscation of several sets of clap nets, live decoys as well as criminal proceedings against at least two trappers."It is unlikely that WBRU has no resources to follow up our reports. By refusing to take action the WBRU accepts that less poachers can be punished and at the same time avoids unearthing trapping sites which itself has licenced in areas where they should never be permitted“, CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said adding that CABS will now forward its reports to the Police and the Environment and Ressources Authority (ERA) requesting an independent investigation.
According to CABS one of the poachers caught in November 2016 had to stand trial at the Valletta court last Wednesday. He was found guilty of trapping finches on an unregistered site near Pembroke and was sentenced to pay a fine of 2.000 Euros. The court also ordered the revocation of his hunting and trapping licence for life. After court he then pursued, verbally abused and threatened the prosecutions' key witness – a resident CABS staff member – on the way back to her car. She escaped unscathed and informed the police about the incident.
Contact for photographic and video material and other information:
CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld, fon +0049 179 480 3805 or Email to CABS@komitee.de