Printer-friendly version

See Sardinia and die...

... of slow strangulation

Snares for thrushes in the mountains around Capoterra in SardiniaSnares for thrushes in the mountains around Capoterra in SardiniaHundreds of thousands of wintering migrant birds are the victims of an egoistic obsession every year in the south of Sardinia. After dying by strangulation in fine snares they are sold by the poachers at high prices to restaurants and private ‘gourmets’ for consumption.

In early winter the woods in the south of the island, with their mild climate and freely accessible water, provide ideal winter quarters for Robin, Song Thrush and Fieldfare. In addition to insects, the fruit of the widespread Strawberry Tree (Madrone) on the mountain slopes provides a plentiful and easily available source of food. The snares are well camouflaged and difficult to detect among the bushes full of berries.On some slopes almost every tree is full of the nylon snares, stretched on thin wires near the bunches of berries. In addition the forest floor is covered with special snares for ground feeding birds such as thrushes.

The use of snares, as well as the trade in the birds, is illegal; but in the more isolated regions of the island everybody knows his neighbour and effective controls are rare. Only the local forest police attempt to combat the poachers. It is almost impossible to lie in ambush for the poachers on the trapping routes in the impenetrable and extensive woodland, so that the officers can only locate and confiscate the snares. In view of the hundreds of thousands of traps this is a never-ending task.

Robin killed by a snareRobin killed by a snareCABS, together with its Italian partner organisations has, in support of the forest police, conducted operations on the ground since 1999 to combat the poaching in Sardinia. Every November and December, the main trapping period, more than 30 activists participate voluntarily in our bird protection camps to combat the snaring of migrant birds on the island. Each year, equipped with wire-cutters, bolt-cutters and carpet knives, they destroy between 20,000 and 25,000 of the extremely fine snares and up to 100 vast nets. In some valleys bird trapping has noticeably declined as a result.

In the course of time our operations on Sardinia have and are being continually extended. Until 2003 we conducted a 10 day bird protection camp and subsequently extended this to two 10 day periods. In 2012 we will be able to run a full eight week camp and cover the complete trapping season for the first time.

Our operations on Sardina are funded principally through donations collected in Germany and with the generous financial support of the Pro Biodiversity Foundation Your support for our international nature and wildlife conservation work, in form of a donation, is more than welcome.