Six illegal trapping sites found, protected bird seized by police

CABS find six illegal trapping sites and police seize sets of clap nets and bird callers as well as a number of live protected birds

CABS came across a number of illegal trapping sites throughout the island as part of its operations in recent days
CABS came across a number of illegal trapping sites throughout the island as part of its operations in recent days

The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has found six illegal trapping sites in an operation against the illegal trapping of protected Oystercatchers, sandpipers and other water birds in the past couple of days throughout Malta and Gozo. 

The committee said that a total of six freshly prepared trapping sites in Zejtun, Mgarr, l-Ahrax, Mqabba and Xewkija (Gozo).

“All sites were equipped with activated nets, plastic decoys and electronic bird callers to attract protected species”, CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said.

After being alerted by CABS, the police conducted searches at all locations and seized several sets of clap nets and bird callers as well as a number of live protected birds including two Wood Sandpipers and one Green Sandpiper.

“These wader species are under the highest protection of Annex 1 of the EU Birds Directive, so according to Maltese Law the perpetrators- if found guilty- should be given an adequate fine and permanent revocation of the trapping license", Burrows added.

CABS said that most of the sites were found during aerial survey flights, and others were found during night patrols to detect illegal bird callers used by the trappers.  

“At least three of the sites have been known as being used for illegal trapping before,” a statement by the committee added.

CABS stressed that its team is not able to monitor the whole countryside, meaning that the sites found represent only a fraction of the actual poaching.

However according to the eNGO – which have conducted anti-poaching operations on Malta for more than ten years - the number of illegal trapping installations found during the summer months has slightly decreased in the past three years. 

“The situation is still serious but there is a clear drop in cases reported during the wader migration season”, CABS president Heinz Schwarze stated.

He added that this decrease was mainly due to a combination of the increased surveillance activity by CABS and the new stringent penalties for hunting and trapping offences.

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