Fifteen illegal hunting incidents filmed by CABS in three weeks

The NGO said the cases included the shooting of seven Honey Buzards, five Marsh Harriers, one Kestrel and one Grey Heron

CABS said there have likely been over 100 protected birds killed this hunting season
CABS said there have likely been over 100 protected birds killed this hunting season

The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has filed 15 illegal hunting incidents in the past three weeks, the organisation said on Friday.

According to CABS the cases include 4 ´successful´ killings and 11 birds which were either observed being shot at or seen flying with obvious gunshot wounds. Among the birds affected are seven Honey Buzzard, five Marsh Harrier, one Kestrel and one Grey Heron.

Most of the incidents reported, CABS said, were observed in the Girgenti and Dingli area, with Wied Qoton near Safi also being another poaching hotspot known for the shooting of birds of prey, as well the widespread use of illegal bird calling machines for Quail and protected waders.

Yesterday Birdlife Malta reported that it had received 26 shot protected birds since the beginning of the autumn hunting season.

“Together with CABS’ observations the total number of confirmed incidents of illegal shooting of protected birds now stands at 41,” CABS said, adding that “taking into account the massive unknown figure of unreported cases it can be assumed that a three figure number of protected birds has been killed by Maltese poachers this month alone.”

It said that after years of improvement, this number is pointing towards a slight increase in illegalities.

“This shows that the efforts made in the last 15 years are a delicate flower which will quickly wilt if the government continues to fail to set up proper enforcement, especially in these known hotspot areas”, CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld

Hirschfeld also said that he was “bewildered” to read that Clint Camilleri, the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for hunting, retweeted a Facebook post from CABS to back up his insupportable and unfunded claim that “BirdLife Malta are inflating the few illegalities & are ignoring all positive news”.

The post shared by Camilleri stated that on 14 September the CABS teams monitored a large number of Honey Buzzards roosting in Buskett without a single bird being shot.

“This was a positive one-off event indeed but it had absolutely nothing to do with the cases documented by Birdlife Malta and CABS in other areas”, Hirschfeld noted concluding that it was Camilleri who inflated and misused the post made by CABS to “whitewash the government´s year-long unwillingness to deal with poaching”.

CABS accused Camilleri of doing nothing to boost enforcement during the hunting season, adding that Camilleri was well aware of the fact that without constant monitoring and reporting by CANS and Birdlife “the balance sheet of the Maltese authorities would be nearly empty”.

CABS said that the key problems were a lack of resources, trained officers, and little government support for the ALE – the police unit responsible for fighting poaching.

It said rather than receiving additional resources, the unit saw its fourth head inspector transferred out in four years.