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CABS Camp Diary Autumn 2018

From mid-August to December 2018, Bird Protection Camps will be held in Italy, France, Spain, Serbia, Malta, Cyprus and Lebanon. A total of 13 actions is attended by around 150 volunteers from all over Europe. We regularly report on the missions that we carry out together with our partner associations and in consultation with the relevant authorities.

Our Operations are mainly financed by donations. In addition, the Foundation Pro Biodiversity , the Karl-Kaus Foundation and the Landesbund für Vogelschutz Bayern (LBV, "BirdLive Bavaria") are supporting our work for better bird protection in Europe.

Total results Autumn 2018:

  • Collected bow traps: 367
  • Collected Snap traps: 442
  • Collected nets: 164
  • Collected limesticks: 2.207
  • Collected other traps: 9
  • Collected horsehair slings: 0
  • Arrested poachers: 97
  • last updated: 22.12.2018

22.12.2018 Northern Italy

Success in Northern Italy: Follow a CABS report in Novara (Piedmont), the police have convicted a poacher, with 20 song thrush, fieldfare and 5 hawfinches. They were caught to be sold as decoys to hunters. At Ferrara (south of Venice), another CABS team, along with the Carabinieri, caught two duck hunters using illegal electronic callers as lures. Furthermore, in Brescia (Lombardy), in cooperation with the WWF game wardens, we were able to capture a songbird hunter with shot chaffinches (photo). All offenders expect a criminal case and the revocation of their hunting licenses.

17.12.2018 Cyprus

Action on Cyprus: the year may be nearly done, but our team currently on Cyprus have still found time to close down a few more illegal trapping sites before Christmas! Over the weekend, our teams led police to an active trapping site with two large nets and an electronic caller - the poacher was caught and issued a fine of around 5000€. Also last night, with police support we caught another trapper with three nets and a caller. 27 birds were saved from the nets and a huge 6000€ fine was issued!

09.12.2018 Cyprus

60 birds saved: Last night, we discovered an exceptionally large illegal trapping site in Cyprus. Not far from Vrysoulles, poachers had set up seven large nets to illegally catch thrushes and robins using electronic decoy lures. Police were immediately called to the scene but unfortunately did not manage to convict the perpetrators. However, they helped us release 59 freshly caught song thrushes and a blackbird. Unfortunately, help arrived too late for 10 thrushes which had already died in the nets.

The site is well known to us - it is operated by a band of notoriously violent bird trappers who severely damaged two CABS vehicles in 2016. Our pre-Christmas mission in Cyprus has just begun and will run until just before the holidays!

02.12.2018 Brescia

Over the past few days, CABS staff and wardens from WWF Italia (Lombardy group) have conducted a joint operation in the province of Brescia, Northern Italy. Whilst our team focused on searching for nets, the game wardens conducted spot checks on hunters. Although we did not find any active trapping sites, our friends at WWF convicted a hunter found to in possession of a dozen dead robins.

17.11.2018 Cyprus

Our Bird Protection Camp in Cyprus is the longest CABS campaign of the season and has been running for 8 weeks now. The camp will continue until the incidents of illegal trapping diminishes with the end of migration.

Since the beginning of the camp in September, we have found and collected 2,207 limesticks, 39 nets and together with wardens from the Game Fund convicted 12 poachers. We have also liberated over 500 birds and continue to free birds everyday such as this Sardinian warbler, robin and greenfinch which we found this morning.

13.11.2018 Malta

llegal finch trapping has made a huge comeback since the government opened the legal trapping season for Song Thrush and Golden Plover last October. During three weeks of field investigations from 20 October to 7 November our field teams documented and reported a total of 65 cases of illegal bird trapping involving at least 78 individuals, 20 of which have been identified and are expected to be taken to court. “These are only those few cases our field team was able to expose and report. Taking into account the usual dark figure it seems safe to assume that several hundred persons have been involved in criminal bird trapping activity on Malta and Gozo this autumn alone”, CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said.“The government knew that poachers would misuse the new regulations as a cover up for illegal operations but decided to do nothing to prevent the massive wildlife-crime-boom we see now. As the central political figure responsible for this fiasco we urge State Secretary Clint Camilleri to take responsibility and either close the trapping season or step down”, CABS demanded. The conservation NGO also noted a sharp increase of poachers who try to cover their faces with masks and balaclavas to avoid being identified by the police. A photo-collage published on the CABS Facebook-page shows several masked “bird thieves” among with portraits of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri who CABS accused of being the “political accomplices” of the poachers.

05.11.2018 Cyprus

Rescued birds, Cyprus November 2018Rescued birds, Cyprus November 2018The first wintering birds have now started to arrive on Cyprus. Song thrushes and robins are two of the most common birds overwintering on the island - avoiding the harsher climate on the continent. Sadly, instead of being warmly welcomed, hundreds of thousands of them will be either trapped or illegally shot. As such, we have deployed a CABS team to safeguard the stopover and record and report any illegalities. In the last week, together with the authorities our teams have removed 510 limesticks, 15 nets and rescued 105 birds. Among them were many robins and song thrushes.

02.11.2018 Spain

Goldfinch as live decoyGoldfinch as live decoyCABS Bird Protection Camp in Spain successfully completed: During our 10-day mission in Eastern Spain, we were able to deliver a severe blow against illegal bird trapping in the region. Around Valencia, 6 poachers were convicted by the authorities following field investigations from our teams. A total of 4 large trapping installations, 8 mist nets, 400 limesticks and a handful of small live traps used to target thrushes were seized. The birds are mostly caught for the cooking pot, but two of the bird trappers were also found to be targeting live finches, to be sold as "pets" on the black market.

01.11.2018 Brescia

Last poachers of the season convicted in Brescia (Northern Italy): Following the end of our large bird protection camp in Brescia the police have been able to convict two more poachers: one had set 30 snap traps west of Lake Garda (photo left, song thrush), another set 10 nets with a total length of 90 metres north of the provincial capital Brescia (photo right, chaffinch). Both traps had been found and reported by CABS members. During the four-week mission in Brescia, we oversaw the arrest of 46 poachers and collection of 392 snap traps (123 of which were uncovered during house searches), 109 nets (including 46 in house searches) and 279 other traps. In addition, 11 shotguns, around 170 live decoys and about 2,100 frozen songbirds were confiscated.

30.10.2018 Malta

Seized trapping paraphernalia (Malta)Seized trapping paraphernalia (Malta)CABS volunteers have documented and reported 34 cases of illegal bird trapping to the police in the last two weeks. These included 12 incidents in which CABS activists filmed finch-trappers red-handed and called the police. CABS said that a total of 19 suspects were involved in these 12 incidents, 10 of which have already been identified by the police and are expected to be taken to court. „We are still analysing our video footage and are confident that the material will lead to more arrests in the coming days“, CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said. She added that CABS reports also resulted in the confiscation of 61 live protected birds, 15 clap nets and extensive paraphernalia used to trap protected finches.

28.10.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Robin in snaptrap (Italy)Robin in snaptrap (Italy)Over and Out: 44 poachers convicted, 632 bird traps, 101 nets collected and 10 guns seized - this is the preliminary result of our bird protection camp in Brescia (Italy). From 29th September to today 28th October, a total of 52 CABS members from Italy, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and the USA were deployed in the northern Italian province. They found 48 active sites which were reported to the police. The day before yesterday, the last poacher of the season was convicted, he had set up 11 snap traps in Val Trompia to kill robins (photo). The police still have half a dozen sites under surveillance, so there may be a few poachers left. With the end of the bird migration and the approach of winter the trapping will now dwindle. A big thank you to the participants of the mission, the police and of course all the CABS supporters, without you these results would not be possible!

24.10.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Seized shotgun and shot protected songbirds, Valacamonica, October 2018Seized shotgun and shot protected songbirds, Valacamonica, October 2018Father and son caught poaching: a CABS team led the police to a bird poaching hotspot in Valcamonica, Lombardy, Italy, where they were able to convict two poachers. The two perpetrators - father and son - had shot a total of 78 protected birds in just one hour. In addition to many chaffinches, siskins and robins they had shot bullfinch, white wagtail, linnet, brambling, meadow pipit and a coal tit. One of the shooters had no hunting license and was not authorised to carry a weapon, the other was a licensed hunter. The police have seized the birds along with weapons and ammunition (photo). At our Bird Protection Camp in Brescia, we have assisted the arrest of 41 poachers. 99 nets, 234 snap traps and 367 bow traps were confiscated.

23.10.2018 Malta

Linnet as live decoy at a Maltese trapping siteLinnet as live decoy at a Maltese trapping site„Close your eyes or close the season“, CABS tells junior minister - Trapping of protected species has exploded since the Maltese government opened the legal season for the capture of Song Thrush and Golden Plover. In the last three days CABS teams monitoring the countryside on Malta filmed and reported dozens cases of severe abuse to the police. These included trapping of protected Greenfinches, Siskins, Hawfinches, Chaffinches and Ring Ouzels as well as trapping on unregistred sites and the use of illegal bird callers. Illegal finch trapping was recorded in Qrendi, Zurrieq, Santa Katarina, Fomm ir-Rih, Mtahleb, Ta´ Baldu and close to the temples in Ħaġar Qim with a total of 10 poachers being investigated by the police and more than 50 protected birds being seized as corpus delicti. Our new video shows the poachers being caught in the act, some of them panicking when realising that their illegal activity was being recorded. The footage also documents how police officers had to break the door of a trapping hide after a poacher locked himself inside in a desparate attempt to hide from the police. CABS said that although it was expected that some trappers would continue to target protected birds its members were shocked to see how widespread the problem has become since the government opened the legal season last Saturday. CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld concluded that Malta´s Animal Rights Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri´s appeal to trappers from last week to follow the rules obviously fell on deaf ears with illegalities being at an all time high for autumn. “Mr. Camilleri has two options now. He can continue to close his eyes to the reality or meet his obligations and close the season”, Hirschfeld stated.

21.10.2018 Malta

Malta - On the first morning of the official trapping season on Malta teams of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS), together with police officers, have already documented two cases of illegal trapping. A CABS team deployed in the Mtahleb area alerted the authorities after they observed two protected Ring Ouzels (Malvizz tas-Sidra in Maltese) in an aviary close to a trapping site. The cage was shown to the police who freed and released the freshly caught birds. The landowner was cautioned and awaits further questioning.

In a separate incident, CABS members deployed near Qrendi were able to confirm that a trapping site registered for the capture of Song Thrush and Golden Plover was actually being used to catch protected finch species. Footage released by CABS today clearly shows a man trapping finches with a 20-metre clap net and caged live decoys placed around the installation. The police were called and arrested the trapper red-handed in his hide. An illegal bird calling machine and 19 live birds, including Chaffinches, Hawfinches, Siskins and Greenfinches were seized.

19.10.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Robins for the pot: The Italian forest police (Carabinieri) have unveiled a bird trapper in possession of over 1,000 (mostly) robins in Brescia, Northern Italy. CABS members initiated the case after finding and reporting a site with illegal nets. Police caught the trapper red-handed and a search warrant was subsequently conducted at the trappers’ home address, where the grisly discovery was made. These protected birds are coveted delicacies and were intended for sale in restaurants, where they are served behind closed doors to personally known guests. In Italy, the trapping and selling of songbirds has been banned for a long time now, with the black-market restaurants facing especially high penalties. But because the birds are not on any menu, restaurant owners are rarely caught. This conviction marks poacher no.30 of the current CABS Bird Protection Camp in Brescia.

16.10.2018 Cyprus

Masked shrike rescued from a net (Cyprus)Masked shrike rescued from a net (Cyprus)Cyprus update: Our autumn Bird Protection Camp on the eastern Mediterranean island has now been running non-stop for 6 weeks. We are not planning to stop anytime soon as we are still finding many active trapping sites every day. In total so far, we have found 114 active sites since the beginning of the camp. Together with police officers and game wardens, we have removed 1297 limesticks, 24 nets and 63 electronic callers. 11 poachers have been caught and prosecuted. 115 birds set free from traps, including the juvenile masked shrike (photo) that we rescued from a net yesterday. The poor bird was exhausted after being stuck for several hours, so we gave it some sugar water before we released it back on its way.

15.10.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Robin in net (Italy)Robin in net (Italy)Our CABS team successfully close down a huge bird trapping installation: In the Val Sabbia, west of Lake Garda in the north Italian province of Brescia, CABS members have discovered a huge illegal trapping site. A bird trapper had set up 8 nets with a total length of around 70 metres in a secluded woodland area and placed dozens of live decoys in small cages to lure more wild birds into the nets. CABS members found the trap on Saturday and showed the police at dusk. Officers laid in wait for almost two days and were finally able to convict the perpetrator today! In addition to the nets, the decoys - siskins, dunnocks and blackbirds (photo) - were seized and released, along with several other birds caught in the nets - including a robin (photo). This arrest marks poacher number 24 of our current Bird Protection Camp in Brescia!

12.10.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Seized birds in BresciaSeized birds in BresciaOur large CABS Bird Protection Camp in Brescia (Northern Italy) is proving very successful: after 12 days of operations, we have secured the arrest of 16 poachers. In addition to some "small fish", which had set up only a few traps or individual nets, we have also been able to convict two professional bird trappers: One had set 104 bow traps on Lake Idro, the other in the mountains near Lake Iseo with 6 huge mist nets. In the freezer of the man with the nets, the police found, several fieldfare, song thrush and redwing, as well as 23 frozen robins (photo). The birds were intended for restaurants. All in all, since the beginning of October, we have found and dismantled 114 bow traps, 122 snap traps and 21 nets in Brescia.

11.10.2018 Cyprus

Attack in Cyprus: Yesterday, one of our CABS teams in Cyprus was monitoring a known trapping site near Kofinou, Larnaca District. Limesticks and an active electronic caller were found. Whilst waiting for game wardens to arrive, a woman appeared and began removing and killing birds caught on the limesticks. The poacher is known to us and she was caught and prosecuted last autumn - the site has also been cleared several times this year. Realising she was being filmed by two team members, the poacher launched a vicious attack, even biting in order to try and take the camera. The woman then attempted to flee on foot, but was quickly apprehended when the officers arrived. 70 limesticks were collected and 12 birds released unharmed. The poacher was issued with a fixed penalty of a measly €400 which will not deter her from trapping again. After the site was cleared our volunteers had to be taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries.

09.10.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Shot Goshawk from Collio (Italy)Shot Goshawk from Collio (Italy)Goshawk shot dead in Italy: Whilst inspecting a trapping site in Collio (Brescia, Northern Italy), a CABS team found a dead goshawk instead of the expected net. The dead bird was taken to the vet* – where an x-ray revealed: The protected bird of prey was shot down at close range, the x-ray shows a total of 159 shotgun pellets. The songbird hunters in Northern Italy frequently shoot birds of prey, because they are after the captive thrushes being used as live decoys. CABS have filed a report to the authorities and the regional news (Bresciaoggi) has also covered the case.

05.10.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Robin in mistnet (Italy)Robin in mistnet (Italy)First poachers caught in Brescia, Italy: CABS members have been busy searching for illegal bird trapping sites in the mountains between Lake Garda and Lake Iseo. In just the past few days we have found a total of 6 active sites with traps and nets and reported them to the authorities. Two poachers have been caught: one had set up a net at Lake Iseo and the other had set up 12 snap traps and 16 bow traps near the city of Brescia. Unfortunately at a third site checked with police the poacher was not confirmed, but we dismantled the net and two robins were released (photo). The Bird Protection Camp in Brescia runs until the beginning of November.

04.10.2018 Cyprus

Saved by Turkish soldiers: Blackcap (© Kuskor)Saved by Turkish soldiers: Blackcap (© Kuskor)Sting in Northern Cyprus: Following information CABS received regarding an active trapping site across the border in the military Turkish area, a raid was made with help from our partners at Kuşkor and the Turkish forces. Upon arrival at the site, the trapper was present and panicked, immediately fleeing to the Greek side of the border whilst being chased by Turkish soldiers – who shouted, “stop or we will shoot”. We imagine the trapper won’t return to the spot for a long time! The soldiers seized 3 nets and an electronic caller – 7 blackcap and 1 reed warbler were set free but we were too late for 5 birds in the nets as well as a scops owl which had been killed and discarded on the ground.

After 4 weeks of our ongoing Bird Protection Camp we have now seized 788 limesticks, 23 nets and 8 poachers have been prosecuted.

02.10.2018 Lombardy (Italy)

Shot BramblingShot Brambling359,000 SONGBIRDS SAVED: The regional government of Lombardy (Italy) has today failed with the plan to enforce a waiver to allow the killing of 310,000 chaffinches, 30,000 brambling and the capture of 19,000 thrushes with nets. The regional parliament in Milan has rejected a vote based on constitutional concerns. Both finch species are protected under EU law and the regional government has no power under Italian law to grant such permits. Nevertheless, the far-right group ‘Lega-Nord’ wanted to push through the shooting and trapping derogation. CABS have worked together with all the large animal and nature protection NGOs in Italy on a public campaign against the project. In particular, it appealed to Members of Parliament who, according to the most recent case-law in Italy, can be held personally liable for infringement of the law. A good day for the birds and for all those who are part of our common European values!

29.09.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Today we start our main Bird Protection Camp in Brescia (Northern Italy). With around 45 participants, the four-week mission in the mountains between Lake Garda and Lake Iseo is the largest CABS operation this year. Our focus is working against the illegal catching of songbirds with traps and nets, as well as combating illegal shooting of migratory birds. Hundreds of thousands of protected species - especially robins - are still being caught and shot in the Italian Alpine province.

28.09.2018 Malta

Over the last three weeks teams of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) deployed in Malta and Gozo have observed or filmed a total of 15 incidents of illegal hunting of protected bird species. According to CABS the cases include 4 ´successful´ killings and 11 birds which were either observed being shot at or seen flying with obvious gunshot wounds. Among the birds affected are 7 Honey Buzzard, 5 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel and 1 Grey Heron. Most of the incidents reported by CABS were observed in the Girgenti and Dingli area. Another poaching hotspot is Wied Qoton near Safi, an area especially known for the shooting of birds of prey and the widespread use of illegal bird calling machines for Quail and protected waders.

Read our recent press relaese here »»

26.09.2018 Apulia (Italy)

Shot QuailShot QuailCABS action against illegal quail hunting in Southern Italy: In Apulia - the ‘heel’ of the Italian boot – In just the past few days, CABS members have found dozens of illegal electronic callers for quail hunting. The devices play the calls of the endangered bird during the night and lure the migrating birds in front of the guns of the hunters. Some of the callers were even in the area of the Gargano National Park, where hunting is completely prohibited! Police checks are out of the question here. The devices are well secured, buried into the ground and powered with car batteries, so that our colleagues had a hard struggle – they have dug out and shut down 9 of the installations (see photo). We hope to be active here soon with the support of the Carabinieri police force!

25.09.2018 Lebanon

In the city of Baalbek (Lebenon) shot storkIn the city of Baalbek (Lebenon) shot storkNO COUNTRY FOR TIRED BIRDS: This injured stork was observed being callously shot whilst it was resting on the roof of a house in Baalbek, North Lebanon. This morning, a member of the public informed us about the presence of the stork in the village and asked us for advice as they feared it would get killed. Unfortunately, there was little anyone could do: just a few minutes later, a teenager drove by on a bike, he stopped next to the house, shot the poor bird and left the scene. Just a normal day in Lebanon, where migratory birds can’t even rest without the risk of being targeted by poachers. The bird is still alive and was taken to a vet. It is currently under care, but with the severe shot injuries and the fall from the roof, it stands little chances to survive. This bird should be in the sky, on its way to Africa... If only it hadn't stopped for a rest in one of the worst bird poaching hotspots in the world.

24.09.2018 Lebanon

Honey Buzzard "Claudine" is back on the wing: During the last week we have found numerous shot birds of prey in the Mountains of Lebanon. More than a dozen birds were handed to care specialists but only one was fit enough to be set free to continue migration - luckily it was only slightly injured and could be taken care of quickly. We named the bird "Claudine" after the daughter of the Lebanese President, Claudine Aoun Roukoz, who strongly supports our actions for better migratory bird protection. "Claudine" was released in a quiet area of ​​the Cedar State and is now - hopefully - well on her way to Africa. Have a good flight!

See our video here »»

22.09.2018 Serbia

Electronic decoy wit car battery and freshly shot Quails (Serbia)Electronic decoy wit car battery and freshly shot Quails (Serbia)CABS in Serbia: a CABS member has joined forces with activists from the Bird Protection and Study Society Serbia (BPSSS) and in 10 days of field operations we located 16 locations with illegal electronic quail callers. Altogether, 23 quail callers were seized together with local police. 2 hunters were caught illegally hunting quails and they will be prosecuted for the offences. Picture, taken by BPSSS, shows illegaly shot quails. Altogether, 70 cases of illegal quail hunting were recorded across Serbia since the beginning of August. This is highest figure ever recorded and it shows that illegal killing of quails with use of electronic callers remains widespread in Serbia.

21.09.2018 Lebanon

Joint operation against songbird trapping in North Bekaa, Lebanon: On Wednesday, a CABS team together with members of MESHC and Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon conducted field investigations around the city of Baalbek, Northern Lebanon. The action was in response to recent intelligence received regarding industrial-scale trapping in the area to target and kill songbirds for illegal sale on the black market. Together with the Lebanese Internal Security Forces 17 mist nets with a total length of more than 300 metres were confiscated. Several Masked Shrikes and a Levant Sparrowhawk trapped in the nets were released unharmed. The operation was the first of its kind in the area close to the Syrian border.

Here´s the video from the bird trapping case in Baalbek »»

20.09.2018 Cyprus

Blackcap (left) and juvenile Mas Shrike found in a net (Cyprus)Blackcap (left) and juvenile Mas Shrike found in a net (Cyprus)During the first three weeks of the CABS Bird Protection Camp in Cyprus, our teams have reported and successfully shut down 10 large bird trapping installations with nets. This morning, at the latest active site to be found, we dismantled the nets but were too late to save a blackcap and a young Masked shrike (photo).

On the one hand findings like these are very sad, but on the other behind the latest numbers hide a success: Last year, over the same period we found 39 active trapping sites with nets. Furthermore, we have also noted an improvement in the declining use of limesticks: So far we have cleared 364 limesticks, whereas last September, after three weeks in the field there were well over 800.

18.09.2018 Lebanon

Yesterday saw a significant success in the current anti-poaching operation being conducted by CABS, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon and the Middle-East Sustainable Hunting Centre (MESHC) in Lebanon. The team deployed near the village of Raachine (Keserwan), in an area known as a poaching 'hotspot' and observed two individuals killing protected Honey Buzzards and Levant Sparrowhawks. Following a pursuit after the poachers attempted to flee the scene, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces responded very promptly to the team's call and arrested the two men. Two guns were seized guns, along with ammunition. 3 freshly shot Levant Sparrowhawks and 2 Honey Buzzards were also recovered as evidence.

See the recent CABS video here »»

16.09.2018 Lebanon

SPNL & CABS team in LebanonSPNL & CABS team in LebanonSix poachers arrested in major poaching crackdown in West Bekaa. Yesterday the Lebanese Army, together with officers of the police caught six poachers illegally hunting protected waterbirds on the shores of Qaraoun lake reserve, West Bekaa governate. The authorities were alerted by participants of the operation against illegal bird hunting in Lebanon which is currently organised by CABS, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon and pro-regulation hunters from the Middle East Sustainable Hunting Center (MESHC). „The poachers were caught red-handed in a nature reserve, had all their weapons confiscated and were taken to the police for questioning. They are threatened with severe sentences and are expected to face trial soon“, CABS Operations Officer Axel Hirschfeld said. CABS and SPNL praised the authorities for their quick reaction and announced that similar operations are planned also in other areas of Lebanon in the coming weeks. The NGO´s also thanked Mme Claudine Aoun Roukoz, daughter and Special Adviser of the Lebanese President, for using her influence to ensure that the hunting law is enforced in this key biodiversity area of Lebanon.

16.09.2018 Malta

Illegal bird of prey poaching in Malta: The situation on the Mediterranean island has improved significantly in recent years - but, there are still many diehards that specifically target protected species. Over the last few days, the CABS teams deployed on Malta have documented a number of serious hunting offences. In addition to finding five electronic lures - especially for trapping for ringed plover - we caught a notorious bee-eater shooter and also saw the shooting of two honey buzzards and a marsh harrier. @BirdLife Malta have also reported two Honey Buzzard shootings. This short video recorded yesterday by a team stationed in the approach lane of the International Airport - shows the shooting down of one of the Honey Buzzards. In all cases, the police were contacted, who either had no time for us or searched for the perpetrators without success.

13.09.2018 Lebanon

Just four days in to the current Bird Protection Camp in Lebanon and our teams are overwhelmed by the ongoing bloodbath we are currently witnessing. Each day, our teams observe large flocks of raptors migrating through the main bottleneck areas and with each day we find hundreds of dead or severely injured birds. The vast majority of casualties appear to be simply shot for no more than mere target practice. The following video gives just a brief overview of the impact we have witnessed so far on Honey Buzzard migration in the Mount Lebanon area close to Beirut.

See the new CABS video here »»

12.09.2018 Cyprus

Rescueing a Red-backed Shrike from a net (Cyprus)Rescueing a Red-backed Shrike from a net (Cyprus)Last night in Cyprus, we were able to catch the third bird trapper of our current Bird Protection Camp on the Mediterranean island: after reporting the active trapping site, Game Wardens found 2 nets with several entangled birds, including the young red-backed shrike in the photo - which thankfully we managed to release unharmed. The man was immediately issued a juicy fine of €2,500!

In total so far, we have found and collected 6 nets and 314 limesticks during the first two weeks. 37 birds have been rescued from the traps!

11.09.2018 Lebanon

Shot Blue-cheeked Beeater (Lebanon)Shot Blue-cheeked Beeater (Lebanon)First poacher of the autumn migration season arrested in Lebanon. In just the first 48 hours of CABS´ Operation ‘Safe Haven’ our team have documented dozens of shocking hunting crimes around the Mount Lebanon district. Working in close cooperation with our partners from the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon and Middle Eastern Sustainable Hunting Centre (MESHC); the cases include the total annihilation of several large flocks of migrating raptors, as well as the shooting of other species of conservation concern such as Ortolan Buntings, Great White Pelicans and Peregrine Falcons. “90% of the hunters we have met in the field literally shoot at everything that flies and have absolutely zero conscience nor any comprehension of what species they are shooting at “, CABS General Secretary Alexander Heyd said. To bring the situation under control our activists have begun to report severe illegalities to the Lebanese Police. This morning a poacher was arrested after our team filmed the man killing a protected Marsh Harrier, a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (photo) and several Whitethroats near the village of Chahtoul.

10.09.2018 Lebanon

Running the gauntlet in the Middle East: As if migration wasn't already difficult enough, many birds migrating along the Eastern Flyway face the added risk of being killed in huge numbers by poachers as they traverse across the bottleneck areas of Lebanon. Indeed, with the opening of the second official hunting season in Lebanon on 1st September – many reports and images have already begun to circulate online showing massacres of dozens of protected and vulnerable species, including Honey Buzzards (photos), Montagu’s Harriers, White Storks and Swifts. As from today, a CABS team will be back on the ground monitoring the situation and working in close cooperation with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon and local responsible hunting groups from the Middle Eastern Sustainable Hunting Centre (MESHC) to ensure that the authorities are supported in enforcing and educating the new hunting controls.

09.09.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Mole in a snap trapMole in a snap trapTraps set to target birds also maim and kill other animals and are therefore quite rightly banned throughout the EU. Snap traps are particularly treacherous, because they are usually placed on the ground and will catch anything that comes into contact with them. The hunters usually want to capture protected species such as robins, pied flycatcher, redstart and Whinchat. As "bycatch", lizards, fire salamanders, dormice and hedgehogs frequently get caught in the traps. For the first time this August, a CABS team in Brescia found a mole that was killed by one of these traps (photo). During our summer Bird Protection Camp in Brescia, Northern Italy, which is now complete, we found a total of 180 of these brutal and indiscriminate contraptions, 8 poachers were convicted.

06.09.2018 Malta

Dotterel as decoy on MaltaDotterel as decoy on MaltaIllegal wader trapping on Malta: Despite being closed season, following an aerial survey (photo), our CABS team on Malta have found and reported 4 active trapping sites set to illegally target waders such as Dotterel (photo), Dunlin, Sandpipers and Greenshank with clap-nets and decoys. Only Golden Plover can be legally trapped between October 20th and December 31st. However, many other wader species are illegally trapped using electronic callers to be either sold on the black-market as ‘collectables’ and/or used as live decoys to lure even more into entrapment. It is also thought that many of the surplus birds are killed for consumption. We await further updates from the authorities regarding the outcomes of their follow up investigations.

04.09.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Pied Flycatcher in snap trapPied Flycatcher in snap trapAnother poacher caught in Italy: near the village of Tavernole (near Brescia / Northern Italy), the police were able to convict poacher No.8 of our current Bird Protection Camp. The man had set eight snap traps to target pied flycatchers at his hunting lodge and had already caught one of the rare migratory birds (photo). We initially found the site on Saturday and reported to the police. However due to the heavy rain, the authorities were only able to strike today.

During this action in the mountains between Lake Iseo and Lake Garda we have currently collected 171 of the snap traps, 16 nets and 26 bow traps and 6 small slings. Several other trapping sites are under surveillance.

02.09.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Shot Tree Pipits and electronic decoy (© Guardie WWF Lombardia)Shot Tree Pipits and electronic decoy (© Guardie WWF Lombardia)Illegal tree pipit hunting: Following another report from our CABS team, the police were able to pick up two poachers for targeting protected tree pipits on the plains to the south of the Italian industrial city of Brescia. The two hunters had installed an electronic decoy caller and shot a dozen birds. Incredibly, one of the hunters is an environmental officer of the local city administration! With that we have ensured the arrest of 7 poachers in Brescia during the last few days!

01.09.2018 Cyprus

Willow Warbler on limestick (Cyprus)Willow Warbler on limestick (Cyprus)Now have a safe journey! This morning we were able to release this willow warbler unscathed from a limestick in Cyprus. If the CABS members had not been there, he would no doubt be grilled on the plate of an expensive meze tonight. With luck, by now the bird should have already left the Mediterranean island for Africa. During the first four days of our Bird Protection Camp, we have collected 160 limesticks, a net and shut down four electronic callers. In the British Sovereign Base Areas in Southern Cyprus, the police have arrested a poacher following a CABS report. The camp will run until the beginning of November.

31.08.2018 Brescia (Italy)

Pied Flycatcher in a snap trapPied Flycatcher in a snap trapPied Flycatcher caught: Today we caught a poacher with 129 snap traps in the mountains west of Lake Garda (Italy). The man had set the traps specifically for pied flycatchers and already caught 3 birds (photo). After we reported to location to the police, they attended the scene and caught the trapper red-handed. It's the biggest case of snap traps we've ever uncovered - usually there are rarely more than 30 traps per site. The poacher seems to have engaged in a vigorous trade with the rare and sought-after migratory birds. He will now await sentence and revocation of his hunting licence. The bird in the photo unfortunately had internal injuries and died.

29.08.2018 Malta

"Kein Land für Störche" - Graffiti in Malta"Kein Land für Störche" - Graffiti in MaltaThe last survivor of a flock of 18 White Storks on Malta is now presumed dead. The bird arrived two weeks ago together with 17 others, but soon after arriving poachers began shooting at the flock, killing all adult birds which were leading the flock on their way south. Without the lead of experienced adults the remaining juveniles were disorientated and appear to have been taken out one by one. CABS are offering a €5000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and convictions of any of the stork killers.

17.08.2018 Brescia (Italy)

On 28.08.18 in Brescia seized traps and birdsOn 28.08.18 in Brescia seized traps and birdsSuccess in Italy: Four poachers caught in just the first four days of our Bird Protection Camp in Brescia: two hunters were convicted of firearms violations, one bird trapper was found to be in possession of 26 snap traps 26 along with more than a dozen redstart and pied flycatcher (Photo). The fourth poacher, was somewhat of a ‘big fish’ - police confiscated 14 large mist nets, 4 clap nets and 6 snap traps, as well as 40 frozen songbirds. All sites were initially inspected by our CABS teams and reported to the officials.

17.08.2018 Malta

Shot storks (© Alice Tribe, Birdlife Malta)Shot storks (© Alice Tribe, Birdlife Malta)Stork slaughter on Malta: For a week a flock of white storks have been resting on Malta. Last Friday there were 18 birds, three were shot within hours. After a week, there are now only 7 storks left! Although the police, CABS and our partners at BirdLife Malta are making every effort to guard the birds day and night, they occasionally manage to move out of sight for a few hours. Sadly each time they reappear, there is always another missing!

The Maltese hunting association - FKNK - blame the EU Commission for these incidents. Because back in June, the European Court of Justice finally banned finch trapping and it seems some hunters are so frustrated that they choose to respond by shooting protected storks. We really do not have any words for this twisted logic!

14.08.2018 Malta

Malta update: suspected stork killer in custody! The police have arrested a 41-Year-old hunter who is charged with shooting three white storks last Friday. The suspect is in custody, and denies committing the offence. Meanwhile, 30 more storks showed up in Malta - our teams have their hands full but are well prepared!

13.08.2018 Malta

CABS team and police watch out for storks on Malta (© Anders Grey)CABS team and police watch out for storks on Malta (© Anders Grey)Malta: police protection for storks. A CABS team, our partners BirdLife Malta and the police are currently guarding 11 White Storks resting in the west of the island. 18 birds flew in on Friday, but sadly within a few hours, a poacher had shot 3 storks, one of which was recovered by police. A constant watch is in place to stop any trophy hunters targeting the birds. We hope that the remaining 11 storks will be able to continue their migration and leave the island as soon as possible.