Spring bird protection camp on Ischia
Ischia is one of the largest islands off the coast of southern Italy. The dense forests and proximity to the mainland attract large numbers of migratory birds. Even today, poachers still use snap traps for whinchat, wheatear and other long distance migrants and illegally shoot passing quails and turtle doves as they attempt to return to their breeding grounds in continental Europe.
CABS has been active on Ischia since 1993. With help from a small group of local nature and animal lovers we have a permanent presence on the island. Some of its members are state-approved hunting wardens and animal welfare officers. They inspect trapping sites and hunting grounds; and help the authorities to convict poachers and also take care of injured wild birds.
CABS and our partners from the WWF, conduct bird protection camps on Ischia each year in April and May. CABS members focus our efforts on identifying illegal trapping sites. Equipped with drones and hidden cameras, we investigate the terraced vineyards, vegetable gardens and orchards in the coastal cliffs. Hidden surveillance cameras are installed on active sites and our evidence is presented to police officers who then wait to ambush the perpetrators.
The WWF's hunting supervisors, financially supported by CABS, primarily focus their efforts against illegal spring hunting. They lay in wait in the morning and evening hours at the known poaching hotspots - mostly remote valleys and ridges away from the villages. When they hear shots or see people with hunting weapons, spot checks are conducted with their statutory powers and violations are recorded and prosecuted.
The combination of the local activists with their year-round presence and our regular bird protection camps has significantly reduced migratory bird poaching on Ischia. Relative calm has now returned where thousands of traps once stood and the skies frequently rang with gunshot. Nevertheless, we continue to remain active into 2023, as the poaching tradition on Ischia has not yet been fully extinguished.
The Karl Kaus Foundation has been supporting us for many years in financing our operations on Ischia.