[WATCH] BirdLife detects 41 bird-trapping illegalities in ten days

During ten days of fieldwork, BirdLife Malta encountered trapping illegalities every single day with a total of 41 illegalities on at least 31 different trapping sites

While finch trapping was outlawed in the EU in 2009, Malta introduced a derogation in 2014 that meant seven species of finch could still be trapped under strict conditions
While finch trapping was outlawed in the EU in 2009, Malta introduced a derogation in 2014 that meant seven species of finch could still be trapped under strict conditions

BirdLife released a video showing footage of what they encountered during a fieldwork they undertook that lasted ten days.

Bird trapping illegalities took place every single day throughout BirdLife's ten-day observation. They said that a total of 41 illegalities were found on at least 31 different trapping sites.

BirdLife Malta said in a press statement issued earlier today that the trapping sites included electronic callers, nets and poles left unattended and nets of unauthorised mesh size.

Finches too were found, the trapping of which was ruled illegal earlier in the year after a ruling by the European Court of Justice called the practice 'barbarbic'.

"A total of 40 live finches were seized from three finch trapping sites in Gozo on one day alone. All of them were either confiscated by the police to be passed on to the Wild Birds Regulation Unit, or were released back into the wild on site," a BirdLife spokesperson said.

The 2018 trapping season opened on October 20 and will remain open until December 31. The current trapping derogation allows the trapping of Song Thrush (Malvizz) and Golden Plover (Pluviera).

"This footage represents only a small fraction of the true scale of illegal trapping that is occuring in Malta and Gozo on a daily basis during the trapping season, and shows how difficult it is to enforce effectively," BirdLife said.

BirdLife blames lack of adequate and sufficient enforcement for trappers disobeying the laws set out in the trapping derogation.

"This highlights the fact that the trapping season should not have been opened in the first place."

Around 1,500 trappers registered for the season in 2018.

BirdLife Malta believes that a Wildlife Crime Unit within the Malta Police Force needs to be established.

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