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PRESS RELEASE 22 April 2017

Poacher´s accomplice is a police constable
Three hunters filmed with guns since season closed
5 poachers filmed trapping Turtle Doves this morning

Poacher with his shotgun at Tal Virtu on 21.4.2017Poacher with his shotgun at Tal Virtu on 21.4.2017The poacher who was filmed by activists of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) and subsequently arrested last Tuesday in the Wied Hanzir near Hal Farrug was hunting together with a police constable, the organisation said today. According to the Bonn-based eNGO the policeman was sitting in the same hide with the poacher for at least an hour, spotting passing birds for him and – inter alia - helping him to adjust his binoculars. “We have more than one hour of video footage which shows the two men together with at least one shotgun visible in the hands of the poacher who was later arrested. When the A.L.E. arrived both men scarpered and disappeared between the trees”, CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld reports adding that CABS also filed a report against the policeman for aiding in a criminal offence he was duty bound to prevent. The hunting season is closed for a week now.

“It´s bad enough that the A.L.E is kept on a short leash by the government which is not providing them with enough resources to control the poachers. The fact that some of their own colleagues are involved in illegal hunting does not make it easier for them”. CABS said that this is not the first policeman who was found to be involved in an illegal hunting incident. With that said the organisation also sharply critisised the utterly unprofessional and biased behaviour of an officer of the Gozo police who first manhandled and aggressively shouted at BBC naturalist Chris Packham last Thursday on a public road in Gozo.

CABS also noted that the number of shots heard in the countryside has massively increased since Turtle Dove migration kicked in last Wednesday. “Despite that the season is closed we have recorded much more shots per day than during the open season with a peak of more than 100 shots heard alone on Friday”, CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows stated. She also said that on two separate incidents on Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning CABS activists managed to film two other poachers with their shotguns in Wied Dalam and Tal Virtu adding that both have already been identified by the police and will be taken to court.

This morning a CABS team filmed a group of 5 poachers - two of them wearing masks - trapping Turtle Doves within a private compound below the Red Tower in Mellieha. Footage which shows the men removing trapped birds from a clap net has been passed on to the police and will be published on Yotube in the coming days. A separate press release with details of today´s operation is in preparation.

Contact for photographic and video material and other information:
CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld, fon +0049 179 480 3805 or 99554442 (Maltese mobile) or Email to CABS@komitee.de