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Bird Guard Operations enter a third year

CABS President Schwarze sees hunting ban as important signal

Honey Buzzard shot by a hunterHoney Buzzard shot by a hunterIn the last week of April, ten volunteer Bird Guards, all experienced ornithologists from Germany, Italy and the UK who have long experience of Malta, will conduct bird protection operations on the islands. A number of them will be equipped for the first time with video cameras mounted on high performance German spotting scopes. These enable high quality documentary evidence of poaching to be recorded as evidence for later investigation by the Malta Police.

As in previous years the CABS control room, which coordinates the Bird Guard mobile patrols and observation posts and links them with the police HQ in Valletta, will be located in Xemxija.

The President of CABS, Heinz Schwarze, greets the ban on spring hunting imposed by the Maltese government. “The decision to once again ban spring hunting is of great benefit to endangered bird species and is an important signal to conservationists throughout the European Union. It means that Malta has finally begun to treat bird protection seriously and is ready to accept and comply with international standards of conservation” states Schwarze. CABS report that numerous daily newspapers and radio programmes in Germany have reported positively on the spring hunting ban on Malta.

In 2008 members of the CABS team were successful in recording many cases of illegal hunting and trapping and reporting them to the authorities.

Dunlin held in captivity with cut wings: trapping is still widespread on Malta and waders are becoming a targetDunlin held in captivity with cut wings: trapping is still widespread on Malta and waders are becoming a targetThe sad highlights of their operations were the filming of a Black Stork being shot down at Dwejra Lines, the trapping of rare Ortolan Buntings near Zurrieq, as well as the seizure of seven different protected species of waders close to Bahrija.

Schwarze condemned the shooting of roosting birds of prey in the FKNK Mizieb nature reserve as reported by BirdLife Malta over the past few days. "The criminal energy expended again and again on the killing of birds of raptors on Malta is unprecedented. After Buskett, this plot of woodland is one of the most important roosts for migrant birds on the islands and must be put completely out of bounds for hunters".