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Malta Spring 2009: CABS Bird Guards record fewer breaches of the law

Hard core of criminal poachers still active in hot-spots

A group of volunteers check the hunting area of MiziebA group of volunteers check the hunting area of Mizieb The scale of illegal hunting has decreased but still continues - concentrated principally, but not exclusively, in the hot spots of Bahrija, Delimara and Marsascala. Teams witnessed the shooting down of protected raptors such as Hobby, Honey Buzzard and Kestrel, and monitored other areas where overnight roosts of Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers are vulnerable to poachers. In summary, Malta is still far from being a safe haven for migrant birds of prey.

Despite verbal harassment, intimidation, and in one case the firing of a warning shot near a CABS team, the deployment of powerful spotting scopes fitted with digital video cameras provided the police with hard evidence of law breaking. The unpredictable presence of our observers acted as a deterrent to blatant poaching, and attracted stalkers and camera teams deployed by gangs of illegal hunters in the areas of hard core criminal activity.

A reduced passage of migrants, due partly to the prevailing climatic conditions, was reflected in the decrease in illegal activity. Only 354 shots - mainly in the early hours - were recorded by our teams as opposed to 1,350 shots in a comparable period in spring 2008. Nonetheless it is evident that illegal shooting can be expected in all areas of the islands.

New footage from the bird protection camp is published here...

You can download the final report as pdf here:

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Final_Report_Malta_Spring_2009.pdf565.67 KB