[WATCH] CABS catch poachers in the act as 34 illegalities reported

Volunteers of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) have been stationed in Gozo for the past two weeks, documenting a total of 34 cases of illegalities

Police clamp down on illegal trappers in Gozo following CABS reports
Police clamp down on illegal trappers in Gozo following CABS reports

Police clamped down on scurrying poachers who hastily collected their cages before they were caught, after the Campaign Against Bird Slaughter reported a total of 34 cases of illegal trapping in the last two weeks alone. 

CABS documented the poachers in the act of their misconduct and during the police raids, with footage showing Gozitan poachers desperately hiding their faces and running off with whatever they could collect before being arrested.

12 out of the 34 incidents included CABS activists filming finch-trappers red-handed. CABS said that a total of 19 suspects were involved in these 12 incidents, 10 of which had already been identified by the police and are expected to be taken to court.

"We are still analysing our video footage and are confident that the material will lead to more arrests in the coming days," CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said. She added that CABS reports also resulted in the confiscation of 61 live protected birds, 15 clap nets and extensive paraphernalia used to trap protected finches.

In addition to these 12 cases, CABS also reported the locations of an additional 22 unregistered trapping sites to the police. "All of these sites were found cleared and with freshly installed clap nets on them. Gozo contains a much greater concentration of illegal sites according to our results," Burrows stated.

CABS report that at least one of the poachers identified in the footage will face trial soon. The man had registered the site he used for illegal finch trapping as a live capturing station for Song Thrush and Golden Plover, according to activists. "According to the new regulations, his license will be revoked," they said. "He should also have his trapping equipment and six live birds - two linnets, two chaffinches, two song thrushes - confiscated."

CABS urged for the season to be closed with immediate effect. "The cases reported by CABS are just a small fraction of the true scale of illegalities," CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said. "Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri for Animal Rights must accept the fact that most trappers don't give a damn about his plea to follow the rules and instead continue to trap protected finches at an unprecedented scale. The only way to safeguard his credibility and to stop the ongoing poaching is to close the season."