Printer-friendly version

Bird protection camp on Malta and Gozo spring 2012

The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) begins its spring bird protection camp on Malta and Gozo today. Some 10 Bird Guards will be on operations in the archipelago in the timeframe 20 - 30 April to monitor pre-nuptial migration and illegal hunting on Malta. In close cooperation with the (police) ALE and Maltese nature protection organisations the volunteer conservationists will record the trapping or shooting of protected bird species during the controversial spring hunting season and report their findings to the responsible authorities. In addition the CABS teams will check whether the hunters comply with the rules imposed by the government on the shooting of Turtle Dove and Quail, including the bag limit of two birds per licensed hunter

The main foci of CABS operations include the monitoring of important night roosts for birds of prey, herons and storks in woodland and unharvested fields. In spring, large numbers of Marsh, Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers roost on the ground in the latter habitats. According to CABS, the past years have seen several cases of birds roosting on the ground being persecuted by poachers, who dazzle the resting birds with torches and then shoot the helpless creatures. Large night roosts of migrating birds will be monitored around the clock by observers equipped with infrared cameras. In addition the CABS teams will verify whether the ban on trapping of birds with clap nets is properly observed. This will involve regular checks of all trapping sites identified in previous years.

CABS also announce that it will for the first time have a permanent Bird Guard presence on Gozo. “We have reliable information that illegal shooting and trapping takes place on Gozo, and will now follow this up” states CABS spokesperson Axel Hirschfeld. During their spring operations the volunteers will be accompanied by Maltese security personnel and international journalists, among the latter a film crew from Germany’s largest private TV station RTL.