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Press realese 10.09.2019

Shots at CABS patrol car in Girgenti - volunteers hit by pellets in Bingemma
2500 Euro reward offered for information

Malta. Yesterday evening persons unknown shot at a CABS patrol car parked on the main road in Girgenti valley, the NGO said. “Our team was out to monitor protected birds of prey flying towards the roost in Buskett. When the volunteers returned to their car, they realised that someone had shot at the vehicle from a short distance with a shotgun. “The rear of the vehicle was peppered with shot damage and dozens of lead pellets still embedded in the sheet metal”, CABS team leader Fiona Burrows explained. The police were called and documented the damage. As it was already dark, they left without searching the area.

The incident happened just three days after a CABS report lead to a major police operation in the same area. Last Friday CABS members called the police after filming a protected Bee-eater being shot down by hunters. The footage was shown to ALE officers who searched the area and questioned several hunters which they found close to the scene. The footage of the Bee-eater being killed in Girgenti has been uploaded on Youtube: https://youtu.be/tChysjmgbeg

Despite an intensive search the bird could not be found. "We don’t know if the previous police action on the 6th triggered the incident from yesterday. What we can say is that clearly some hunters were not very happy with our presence in this area”, Fiona Burrows said adding that after the police left, hunters hurled insults at the birdwatchers and two exposing their blank backside to female CABS volunteers.

In a separate incident yesterday afternoon, two members of another CABS team monitoring bird migration in Bingemma were hit by multiple lead shot fired at a range of approximately 50 metres. “When we arrived at our watchpoint our team was spotted by a hunter who immediately ducked down behind a wall and very shortly after four consecutive shots were fired in our direction with the pellets raining down and hitting us. No birds were seen flying at the time”, CABS volunteer Marvin Fehn from Germany recalls. “Though it was more like a lead shower than a direct hit, it was clearly an intentional threat”, he added.

Meanwhile, CABS are offering a reward of 2500 Euro for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for the shot damage to their car in Girgenti. Witnesses are urged to contact the police or CABS. “We are relieved that no one got hurt but we are concerned that two such incidents occurred within a couple of days”, CABS president Heinz Schwarze said in a statement.

Contact for more information: CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld, +49 1794803805 or Email to CABS@komitee.de, The photo attached to this PR shows the damage on the CABS patrol car including typical holes created by pellets and lead pellets embedded in the car´s surface.