Illegal clap nets discovered in bird sanctuary, two trappers caught red-handed

CABS said that both nets were seized but the trappers were allowed to keep their live decoys

A liveLinnet decoy used by a bird trapper
A liveLinnet decoy used by a bird trapper

Yesterday morning volunteers of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) discovered two large bird trapping installations within the bird sanctuary at Luqa airport, the organisation said. 

As it is illegal to hunt or trap any birds within this area both cases were reported to the ALE who arrived within 15 minutes. The officers managed to catch both trappers red-handed with active clap nets and more than a dozen live songbird decoys in cages placed around the nets.

The species targeted by the men were Linnets, Chaffinches and Greenfinches.

CABS said that both nets were seized but the trappers were allowed to keep their live decoys. “We were informed that the birds had official rings which made it difficult for the police to take the birds away”, CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said. 

CABS also reported that it has conducted several aerial survey flights last week to document the amount of finch trapping inside Natura 2000 areas which belong to the EU-wide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive of the EU.

In contrast to areas designated as “bird sanctuaries” where hunting and trapping is prohibited trappers may trap finches within Natura 2000 sites.

“Our teams counted more than 200 trapping installations inside sites such as L-Inhawi ta' Ta' Cenc and Dwejra on Gozo and the cliffs in Dingli and Ħal-Far on Malta. These sites belong to Malta´s most important areas for the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity. Nevertheless the government has allowed trappers to turn these ecological crown jewels into giant bird traps”, CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said. 

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