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Ponza spring 2009


Bird protection camp comes to a successful end

Three Whinchats found dead in the traps on PonzaThree Whinchats found dead in the traps on Ponza The first CABS spring operation in the Mediterranean this year took place at the end of March/beginning of April.

Several Italian CABS members joined the State Forest Police from 29 March to 1 April 20089 on the small Mediterranean island of Ponza in the Lazio region to search for illegal bird traps.

In three night operations the experienced conservationist activists checked 25 locations where poachers had been observed the previous year. At ten of these locations a total of 238 snap traps were found of which 153 were immediately removed. Sixteen dead birds were found in the traps - 5 Robins, 3 Redstarts, 3 Nightingales, 2 Subalpine Warblers and one each of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Wheatear. Another Robin was released unharmed. On the afternoon of 30 March 3 shots were heard although spring hunting is forbidden throughout the whole of Italy.

All information collated on trap locations and suspected areas where illegal spring hunting takes place was given to the Forest Police, who plan a large scale operation on the island in April.

Only 10 years ago, together with its Italian partner LAC, CABS organised its first major operation on the island with 15 participants. The poachers became accustomed to the regular operations and stopped all poaching activity as soon as a large group of ‘suspicious persons’ were seen disembarking from the island ferry. We have adapted our tactics accordingly, with only a few participants arriving on the island unobtrusively and operating in the field only at night.

"Poachers‘ island - Shooting of Turtle Dove and Quail

Two Ponza hunters arrested by police

Whinchat in a trap on PonzaWhinchat in a trap on PonzaOfficers of the regional forest police lay in wait at dawn and closed the ambush on two poachers. It was part of a joint operation with the Lega Abolizione Caccia (LAC). Acting on information from the conservationists the police laid their trap at the poaching hot spot Punta Incenso.

The hunters arrived punctually, armed and with electronic decoy devices. The police stopped the men and confiscated 2 shotguns and other hunting implements. They also seized 150 bird traps.

The poachers’ day was well and truly spoilt. Charges are being preferred against two islanders aged 69 and 40.

The police controls will continue next week.“

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