Carob trees cut down for illegal mist net to catch protected birds

Massive illegal mist in family park near Qala dismantled by police and CABS, five dead birds found trapped

A dead Spanish Sparrow caught in the mist net (Photo: CABS)
A dead Spanish Sparrow caught in the mist net (Photo: CABS)

Poachers on Gozo destroyed protected Carob trees to make way for an illegal bird trapping installation in a public family park near Qala on Gozo, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) said.

To catch protected birds, persons unknown installed a large vertical mist net inside the park area which at the moment is not being maintained.

“The net was spanned between two 5m-high poles and was about 8m long,” CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said, adding that when she spotted the net through her binoculars she could see several dead birds hanging in it.

Police and CABS dismantling the mist net
Police and CABS dismantling the mist net

CABS reported the case to the police who arrived within 20 minutes and – with the help of the birdwatchers – dismantled and confiscated the net. A total of five, dead, protected birds – one Wood Warbler, one Spotted Flycatcher and three Spanish Sparrows – were found entangled in the net.

“These poor birds have suffered a long time before they finally suffocated or died in the hot sun. Whoever is responsible for this should not only be punished for breaking the hunting law but also be held accountable for this irresponsible cruelty to animals,” Burrows said.

While the police was on site it was also discovered that the poachers had cut several protected Carob trees to erect the net.

“This is a very severe case which involves trapping and killing of protected birds, brutal cruelty to animals as well as destruction of protected trees on government-owned land. We expect the Gozo police to conduct a full investigation and use all means to identify the culprits,” CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld added.

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