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Wild Bird Regulation Unit ignoring reports on 177 illegal trapping sites – CABS

The NGO said it could not understand the government agency’s refusal to follow up on reports on illegal practices

yannick_pace
Yannick Pace
23 November 2017, 1:07pm
CABS said the WBRU had so far failed to investigate reports on 177 illegal trapping sites
CABS said the WBRU had so far failed to investigate reports on 177 illegal trapping sites
The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has accused the Wild Bird Regulation Unit (WBRU) - a government entity falling under the parliamentary secretariat of agriculture and animal’s rights – of ignoring several reports drawn up by the CABS on illegal hunting and trapping practices.

Specifically, CABS said that WBRU had “refused” to investigate reports lodged by the NGO itself about 177 trapping sites actively in use in areas banned for trapping.

“Even though trapping sites may only be licenced if they are located on agricultural land, it has identified a total of 177 active installations built on protected garrigue habitat,” said the NGO.

It added that some sites had also been found within, or on top of, historical fortifications such as Fort Ricasoli and Notre Dame Bastion.

CABS said it had provided the WBRU with the exact locations of the suspicious sites on 30 October, and offered to provide photo evidence.

“After three weeks of silence, CABS sent a reminder to WBRU’s head Sergei Golovkin, who replied this Tuesday: I am not in a position to divert out scarce resources from priority work to perform a detailed check and provide you with the summary requested. This is not necessary, since field inspections and spot checks are ongoing on a daily basis to ascertain compliance with applicable regulations,“ said CABS in a statement.

The NGO stressed that it could not understand the “government agency’s refusal” to follow up on the reports, especially it said, a number of similar reports from CABS last year led to the confiscation of several sets of clap nets, live decoys, as well as criminal proceedings being initiated against two trappers.

"It is unlikely that WBRU has no resources to follow up our reports. By refusing to take action the WBRU accepts that less poachers can be punished and at the same time avoids unearthing trapping sites which itself has licenced in areas where they should never be permitted“, said CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld, adding that CABS will now forward its reports to the Police and the Environment and Ressources Authority (ERA) requesting an independent investigation.

According to CABS one of the poachers caught in November 2016 was last Wednesday found guilty of trapping finches on an unregistered site near Pembroke and was sentenced to pay a fine of 2000, with the court also ordering the revocation of his hunting and trapping license.

This resulted in the accused pursuing, verbally abusing and threatening a resident CABS staff member who was the prosecutions’ key witness. She escaped unscathed and informed the police about the incident, said CABS.

The court also ordered the revocation of his hunting and trapping licence for life. After court he then pursued, verbally abused and threatened the prosecutions' key witness – a resident CABS staff member – on the way back to her car. She escaped unscathed and informed the police about the incident.

yannick_pace
Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...
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