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CABS records shooting of White Storks on video

Government criticised for ineffective enforcement

Two white storks shot down while flying over MaltaTwo white storks shot down while flying over MaltaPoachers have killed at least 2 White Storks near Salina yesterday afternoon. The birds belonged to a flock of 13 storks which has been monitored by CABS and Birdlife since its arrival on Saturday. When the birds tried to land on the slopes of Maghtab at around 4 pm, a series of gunshots were fired at the flock. A CABS team patroling the area managed to record the shooting on video. "The footage shows two birds being hit and literally falling down from the sky", outlines CABS president Heinz Schwarze.

The birdwatchers alerted the police who searched the area but were unable to find either the dead storks nor the men who killed them. After the incident only 10 storks were observed flying towards Buskett, indicating that a third bird was killed out of sight of the surveillance team. A copy of the video has been handed over to the A.L.E. today and was also uploaded on Youtube Since Friday reports made by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) have also led to police investigations against 4 bird trappers near Dingli, Manikata and Gharghur where the police seized 3 clap nets and 5 live finches. In the town of San Gwann CABS reported a massive trapping site to the police, whereupon they confiscated two 10-metre long mist nets, two cage traps and a freshly-caught Robin. "The fact that a single CABS team is able to expose 6 serious environmental crimes within 48 hours proves that the situation is still far away from being satisfactory" Schwarze said. CABS accused the government of downplaying the poaching problem and wasting tax payers money by retaining an ineffective enforcement system. In a Press Release from yesterday the government said that the police conducted 7.619 field inspections and spot checks which gave rise to the disclosure of only 85 trapping-related offences and 73 hunting-related offences last autumn. "If one considers that a large part of these offences could be disclosed only because CABS or Birdlife alerted the police and provided the necessary evidence, this data is rather a declaration of bancrupcy than proof of improvement", CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said. According to the lines "quality rather than quantity" CABS repeated its call on the government to establish a dedicated wildlife crime unit within the ALE.