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Spring Hunting

CABS sends 20 Bird Guards to Malta and Gozo

CABS Bird Guards at their observation postCABS Bird Guards at their observation post The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) is sending 20 Bird Guards to Malta and Gozo for this year’s spring hunting season. The bird protection camp will run from 19 to 30 April. As in previous years roost areas of protected birds of prey, storks and herons will be monitored around the clock in order to protect them from poachers. The second important task to be carried out by the volunteers is to monitor trapping sites and to report and bird trapping activity to the environmental police unit ALE. This year CABS operations will concentrate on the poaching hotspots identified during previous camps including the area of the international airport, the Delimara peninsula and Gozo. The total costs of the camp amount to some 18,000 Euros and will be covered by private donations and a grant from the German Foundation Pro Biodiversity (SPA) .

CABS further announced that it had written last week to the new Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and promised that it would employ every legal means to put an end to spring hunting on Malta. The organisation has already received firm support for their efforts in this direction from the German Minister for the Environment, Peter Altmaier (CDU). He confirmed in a reply to CABS that the killing of migrant bird species with unfavourable conservation status totally negates the efforts to preserve these species in Germany. He therefore addressed the matter in March this year in a communication to the European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik and asked him to check whether member states were acting in contravention of Article 7 of the EU Birds Directive. In addition to France and Italy, that are being criticised for their active or tacit tolerance of hunting of endangered wader and song bird species, Malta could also once again come under close scrutiny by the Commission for permitting hunting of Turtle Dove and Quail, above all during pre-nuptial migration.

According to data compiled by the respected Federation of German Avifaunists (Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten - DDA) the Turtle Dove population in Germany has declined by more than 67 % since 1990. Studies from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom arrive at similar alarming results. The FKNK and the Maltese Government have always justified spring hunting on the grounds that the Turtle Dove is a common species and that hunting has no negative effect on populations. “The very opposite is true in this case. Because of the current sharp decline in central Europe, the species cannot be hunted sustainably anywhere on the continent” states CABS President Heinz Schwarze.