[WATCH] Masked poachers caught red-handed, 20 to face charges

Poachers wearing masks 'like bank robbers' to avoid identification before hiding in building ... only for them to subsequently leave with their faces uncovered and in full view of birdwatchers.

Staff Reporter
9 April 2017, 5:26pm
Illegal trappers wearing masks to avoid being identified • Photos: Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)
Illegal trappers wearing masks to avoid being identified • Photos: Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)
Around 20 poachers are expected to be arraigned over illegal trapping after they were caught in the act by birdwatchers, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) said today.

In a statement, CABS said that activists who were deployed to monitor sites for illegal activity located several trapping sites. Rather peculiarly though, activists uncovered a new desperate tactic by poachers in an effort to avoid identification and prosecution: wearing masks.

 

Footage by CABS of a trapping site in Fomm ir-Rih shows one trapper wearing a white skull mask. His accomplice, ostensibly also aware of the nearby presence of bird watchers, covered his face with a neckerchief in an effort to avoid identification before rolling up the illegal clap nets they had laid out to trap birds with.

The two men kept their faces hidden until they entered a building nearby, which they were later seen exiting, this time with their faces exposed and in full view of the birdwatchers.

The men were subsequently identified and reported to the police.

“These men looked and behaved like bank robbers but instead of money they were stealing protected birds from the wild”, CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said.

The environmental NGO said the two men were among 20 poachers reported to the police by activists over the past three weeks. Police also confiscated bird trapping paraphernalia worth more than €10,000, as well as about 40 live protected birds.

The poachers are expected to be arraigned in court over the coming months over charges of illegal bird trapping.

Moreover, footage uploaded by CABS showed trappers setting up or removing clap nets as well as carrying cages with birds used as decoys.

On Saturday, activists also filmed a man installing an illegal bird caller as well as a net for the trapping of Quails close to Mgarr.

The police confiscated the net and the caller which turned out to be a remote-controlled device connected to a speaker and a car battery for power supply.