Poachers take advantage of reduced police presence to control illegal trapping – CABS

‘Illegal trapping is rampant everywhere and the poachers know A.L.E. have no resources to catch them’, CABS says

Illegal bird trapping Fawwara 15 March 2020 CABS
Illegal bird trapping Fawwara 15 March 2020 CABS

The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has cancelled most of its operations and bird protection camps in the Mediterranean, but said illegal bird trapping is now rampant in Malta.
The police’s Administrative Law Enforcement unit enforcing the hunting law on Malta are currently busy with other duties in relation with the COVID-19 outbreak, with CABS claiming that illegal bird trappers are taking advantage of the situation.

“Illegal trapping is rampant everywhere and the poachers know that the A.L.E. have no resources to catch them,” CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said.

“Due to the restrictions and quarantine regulations being rolled out across Europe in recent days and the inevitable escalation in the coming days and weeks, we have decided to suspend our volunteer-based bird protection camps this spring until further notice. Today’s decision and announcement is primarily being implemented with the motive of keeping people safe.

“In doing so, we want to show the urgent need for solidarity by not travelling, without which the virus will spread too quickly and thus bring our health systems to breaking point.

“However, despite the cancellation of the large volunteer-based bird protection camps, we do have CABS staff, members and affiliates present in all our operational areas. Therefore, we will maintain a minimum presence in northern and southern Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Lebanon; and our local partners and teams will remain active within the framework of the circumstances made possible by the authorities.”

In Malta local-based CABS staff members and volunteers are continuing to monitor compliance with hunting law.

Since the beginning of last week nine cases of illegal trapping were filmed in St Paul´s Bay, Wardija, Ta’ Santi, Tal-Palma, Mistra Bay, Fawwara and in Delimara. On 11 March one trapper was caught red handed in a field below Selmun Palace and had his nets and 16 live decoys – mostly Linnets – confiscated by the police.

“Video evidence for the other eight cases have been sent to the police,” Burrows said, adding that for the time being all CABS reports to the police will be submitted via email and DVD to be dealt with when the virus situation is controlled.