CABS dismantles 10 illegal bird callers with police

CABS hits back at FKNK statements, dismantles illegal bird callers with the police

File photo of illegal bird callers dismantled by CABS during other outings.
File photo of illegal bird callers dismantled by CABS during other outings.

The German-based anti-poaching society CABS (Committee Against Bird Slaughter) said it had removed a total of 10 illegal bird callers for quail, together with the police Administrative Law Enforcement unit.

“Tonight between midnight and 4:00am two teams removed a total of 10 machines in the vicinity of Mtahleb, Lippija, Mosta, Maghtab, Siggiewi and Dingli,” CABS said.

Bird callers are static installations which consist of an electronic playback device, loudspeakers, and a digital timer which activates the devices during the night. To protect them from being found and confiscated, hunters lock the devices in metal boxes or embed them in concrete or rubble walls.

“However, with the help of pickaxes and crowbars all installations were removed or destroyed. Its teams have mapped a total of about 40 illegal bird callers so far and that similar operations will be conducted over the course of the coming days,” CABS said.

The NGO also hit back at statements by hunters’ federation FKNK, saying it distorted a recent CABS statement acknowledging that incidents of illegal shooting of protected birds of prey, storks and other birds has decreased in recent years.

“The fact that we are confirming that illegal shooting of protected species is decreasing does not mean that we support a legal spring hunting season for turtle doves. The opposite is the case. Less poaching is good for harriers, falcons, eagles and other protected birds but it has nothing to do with the fact that hunting of turtle doves – no matter if in spring or autumn – is against any better ecological judgment,” CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said.

“Hunter’s organisations in Malta and other EU-countries time and again are misusing the term of sustainability as a smokescreen to cover up the fact that their selfish passion is accelerating the massive decline of these beautiful creatures in their breeding grounds.

“Sustainable use by scientific definition means harvesting a surplus of a population. You don´t have to be an ‘Einstein’ to realise that if a species has declined by 70% or more there is no surplus left to harvest and thus its hunting is not sustainable.”

CABS also said that the hunting of other threatened species such as the Golden Plover, the Skylark, the Lapwing and the Ruff – all quarry species in Malta during autumn – should be stopped until their populations have recovered.

 “The FKNK executives know very well that killing these species on migration has absolutely nothing to do with sustainability but still they use this term as a cheap euphemism to mislead the public opinion,” CABS president Heinz Schwarze said,

“CABS supports BBC presenter Chris Packha’s ongoing campaign to encourage nature lovers throughout Europe to write to EU Environmental Commissioner Karmenu Vella and request that Turtle Dove hunting in spring should be stopped.

“In fact we recommend all followers of Chris Packham’s campaign to go beyond this and demand a European-wide hunting moratorium of all species of conservation concern the whole year round.”

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