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CABS Spring Bird Protection Camps 2017

As the spring migration comes to an end, all the CABS Bird Protection Camps are now complete. Since the beginning of March, there have been a total of 10 separate missions in Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Lebanon.

A short summary of the results for each assignment has been collated here:

Focus on Italy

Masked whinchat poacher on the iosland of Ischia, April 2018Masked whinchat poacher on the iosland of Ischia, April 2018Italy has always been a top focus of our work. There were spring operations in Brescia, Bolzano, Calabria and on the islands of Ponza and Ischia.

In Brescia we found just 3 active sites (all three poachers were convicted) and only one on Ponza (the poacher was also caught here). On Ischia we found 6 trapping sites for Whinchat - two more than in 2017 and two poachers were arrested. Once again the shooting of Honey Buzzards in Calabria was sad to witness. However, three poachers were convicted.

Malta - 35% more trapping sites

Seized live quail decoy on Gozo, April 2018Seized live quail decoy on Gozo, April 2018The pro-hunting policies of the Muscat government on Malta are allowing the incidents of bird trapping to rise. This March, we found 180 active trapping sites, 35% more than in 2017. On Malta's neighbouring island of Gozo, we found 14 cage traps for turtle doves and songbirds, 3 quail nets and 2 large nets. In cooperation with the environmental police we were able to nab 16 poachers. The illegal hunting of birds of prey and other protected species, however, continues to significantly decline!

Cyprus – Bird trapping in decline?

Golden Oriole on a limestick, cyprus, May 2018Golden Oriole on a limestick, cyprus, May 2018All in all, we found just 305 limesticks and 9 nets in our 9-week Bird Protection Camp on Cyprus - the fewest ever! By comparison, last year we collected 1,834 limesticks and 19 nets over the same period! More than 200 birds have been released, including numerous golden oriole, whitethroat, nightingale, redstart and scops owls.

Two poachers were convicted, they have to pay € 8,540 and € 8,400 respectively.

Lebanon - 25 poachers displayed

Poachers during closed hunting season at Bekaa/Lebanon, March 2018Poachers during closed hunting season at Bekaa/Lebanon, March 2018In our first CABS spring mission in Lebanon, we focused primarily on protecting the key bottleneck areas in the Bekaa Valley on the Syrian border. On several days there was a strong passage of white storks, during our presence, no hunting was found on these protected birds in Lebanon. However, in cooperation with the police, a total of 4 poachers were cautioned for hunting quails, swallows and other songbirds. South of Beirut, two illegal trapping nets were also seized. Two dozen poachers were also identified via social media.

Calabria: 7 bird smugglers arrested

Seized dead Siskins and a Goldfinch, Calabria, March 2018Seized dead Siskins and a Goldfinch, Calabria, March 2018In Calabria, at the end of May 2018, arrest warrants were issued against 7 men. The gang is accused of having trapped and smuggled at least 13,000 songbirds for a turnover of around one million euros. Live birds - finches such as hawfinch and goldfinch – were exported mainly to Malta. Dead birds - mostly thrushs and Skylarks - went to restaurants in northern Italy.

The initial tip-off was given to the authorities by CABS back in 2016!


Many thanks to the volunteers, our sponsors and donors and of course to the Foundation Pro Biodiversity , der Karl-Kaus-Stiftung für Tier und Natur and the Bavarian BirdLife group Landesbund für Vogelschutz Bayern for the great support!.