Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e.V. Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e. V.
Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

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Malta – 19. 03. 2024

CABS & police take action against bird poachers: 27 trapping sites dismantled, 263 birds seized

Large illegal bird collection discovered in Siggiewi raid.

Malta. During the last two weeks reports and information gathered by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) have led the police to 27 trapping sites used for illegal trapping of finches and other protected birds. The eNGO said that thanks to the swift response of the officers and video evidence taken by CABS 24 persons have been identified as suspects and are expected to be taken to court for trapping during the closed season. 33 sets of clap nets, numerous illegal bird callers and a total of 263 live birds – mostly finches – were confiscated. Hotspots of illegal trapping were fields near the coastline of Fawwara, Dingli and Zurrieq as well as Sannat and Qala on Gozo. One illegal trapping site was discovered in fields just in front of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Ta' Pinu in Għarb. In a short video sequence published by CABS today Gozo police officers can be seen chasing and apprehending trappers with one of them being handcuffed after trying to run off. The video can be watched here.

The biggest case so far was discovered yesterday when the E.P.U. inspected a compound near Siggiewi which had been reported by CABS as a site used for illegal trapping. Upon their arrival the officers discovered three large active clap nets and a huge illegal collection of live birds including Red Throated Pipits, Short-toed Larks, Golden Plovers, Dotterels, Dunnocks and various buntings including one Rustic Bunting, an extremely rare visitor to the Maltese islands. A total of 107 live birds were seized and handed over to BirdLife Malta for rehabilitation. The trapper was apprehendet on site.

CABS took the recent cases as an opportunity to once again criticise the government for its controversial ´finch research´ labelling it a cynical manipulation of the words of the European Bird´s directive. “Most people in Malta and abroad are aware that the claims Malta makes about scientific finch trapping are a sham to protect poachers. Many of the sites used for poaching in spring are registered for the research derogation in autumn” CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said adding that trusting their owners with ‘scientific trapping’ is like letting the fox guard the henhouse.

CABS said that it will forward all data collected by its teams to the European Commission to support their case against Malta´s finch trapping ‘research project’ at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxemburg. “We are confident that the ECJ will rule in favour of the birds and that all the taxpayer’s money used by the government to defend the undefendable will not pay off”, Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said. He also announced that CABS teams will continue to operate on Malta and Gozo on a daily basis until the end of April.