Successes on Malta
Malta shows that it is possible to achieve success even after a relatively short period of time. The committee has only been active on the small Mediterranean island since 1999 - with regular bird protection camps since 2001 - and has already achieved a lot together with our Maltese partners:
- The field investigations and monitoring of migratory bird hunting in Malta by CABS teams and other nature conservation organisations have led to a decline in poaching. However, every year protected birds of prey and storks continue to fall victim to the hunters and no all-clear can be given yet - but poaching is no longer as widespread as it was in the 1970s.
- After more than 15 years of one of the most extensive campaigns in the history of CABS - finch trapping with clap nets was finally outlawed in 2017. The decision came following a judgement from the European Court of Justice - following official complaints from the committee and BirdLife Malta.
- The Maltese public are increasingly against poaching. Since 2007, the media have reported our work in great detail and how together with partner associations we shine a light of the reality of the situation - the majority of Maltese welcome wildlife conservation and a better bird protection on their island. The number of poachers reported by the public increases every year.
- Penalties for illegal hunting of protected species in Malta have been significantly increased - most recently immediately after we published video footage of a massacre of white storks. In Malta today, hunting licences are revoked for life in serious cases of poaching or repeat offenders - which is unique in Europe!
- After a CABS team found a bird of prey cemetery in autumn 2009 with the remains of hundreds of protected birds in a piece of woodland in the north of the main island, which was owned and maintained by the Maltese hunters' association FKNK, the phenomenon has gradually decreased there. Although there are still protected bird carcasses occasionally found in the area today, they are no longer as extensive as they used to be.
- Due to our operations against the illegal trapping of waders with nets in late summer, this phenomenon is significantly declining. Of the hundreds of waders that were once caught in the summer, rarely more than two dozen sites are active today.
- Malta continues to authorise spring hunting of returning migratory birds, which is not permitted under EU law. But while until 2017 quails and turtle doves were huntable every year on the shooting list, since 2018 turtle doves are no longer huntable in spring. Even though many are now shot illegally, the hunting ban is a step in the right direction.
- At our bird protection camps on Malta every year numerous poachers are caught and convicted, trapping nets are collected and illegally held decoy birds are set free. Every year, our staff and volunteer teams save the lives of hundreds of birds of prey - simply by their presence in the main poaching areas!