CABS in rare praising of Malta over spring hunting season

German conservationists CABS incredulous at the ‘significant improvement’

The increase in law-abiding hunters has been noticed by German conservations CABS who were left positively surprised by the “significant improvement” in the spring hunting season.

“All change in Malta,” the Committee Against Bird Slaughter commented on Facebook. “Even though there is still much to do and hunting offences are frequently observed, we can't deny noting a significant improvement in the situation.”

What sparked the unexpected comment by CABS – no doubt to be welcomed by hunting organisations – was the unperturbed departure of Kestrels, Marsh and Montagu Harriers from Malta to Italy.

“Last night and this morning, the CABS teams across the islands did not observe a single shot against protected species,” CABS said.

“We could hardly imagine such circumstances when we first started our Spring bird protection camps on Malta just nine years ago.”

The government has authorised a spring hunting season, allowing around 10,000 licensed hunters to hunt a combined total of 5,000 quail and 5,000 turtle dove. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature last year classified the European turtledove as a vulnerable species.

Over the past three weeks, CABS discovered 41 illegal trapping sites – mostly in Gozo – all of which were freshly cleared and equipped with large clap nets. 13 bird trappers were caught red-handed by the police or were later identified on the basis of photos and videos taken by the birdwatchers.

CABS volunteers also discovered the half-burnt remains of an illegal bird trophy collection on a countryside road near Saint Margaret’s Chapel in the limits of Burmarrad.