CABS says afternoon hunting is ‘death sentence’ for raptors

CABS releases video footage of illegal hunting and trapping incident saying the end of afternoon hunting curfew is a ‘death sentence’ for birds of prey.

CABS Bird Guard (Photo: David Conlin)
CABS Bird Guard (Photo: David Conlin)

After Birdlife Malta reported being inundated by illegal hunting reports and injured birds, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) also reported several incidents of illegal hunting.

CABS‘ Bird Guards participating in Operation Honey Buzzard in the past week said they had observed, and in many cases filmed, the shooting down of numerous protected birds of prey. “The end of the afternoon hunting curfew is a death sentence for numerous birds of prey,” CABS said.

On Monday evening, volunteers witnessed how several hunters almost completely wiped out a roost of around 15 Common and Lesser Kestrels that had settled in trees in Safi, close to the runway of the Malta International Airport.

“The majority of the birds had already landed in a group of eucalyptus trees when a number of shots rang out and flushed the birds from their roost. After that a bout of wild shooting began and it is feared that all the falcons were killed,” CABS said.

At least five shootings down were witnessed directly of which three were filmed. A video of the Safi Falcon Massacre can be seen below

Numerous Honey Buzzards, Marsh Harriers and falcons arrived on Thursday evening and CABS teams were deployed to Safi, Dingli, Bingemma and the area around Bahrija.

“They recorded numerous shots at the incoming birds and witnessed directly the shooting down of a Honey Buzzard and a Kestrel as well as the shooting at another Honey Buzzard with six shots,” CABS said.

The shooting down of a third Honey Buzzard near Dingli was filmed and is also on Youtube.

Near Mgarr (Gozo), a member of the public witnessed a hunter shooting down a Hobby on Thursday afternoon.

The bird was recovered by the police and taken to a veterinary surgeon by members of CABS.

“Information received from police sources has confirmed that the ALE on Malta has also recovered at least three injured or dead birds of prey and has seized three shotguns, one of which was specially fitted with a spotlight for night shooting,” CABS said.
The conservation group said that data and observations proved that the poaching problem in Malta still reached staggering dimensions.

“The insistence by the hunting associations that such incidents are isolated cases are deliberate and misleading propaganda, designed to prevent any further and necessary restrictions on hunting,” CABS president Heinz Schwarze said.

“This sort of weak rhetoric used by FKNK und KSU is reminiscent of other lost causes grasping at the last straw before they finally go under” Schwarze added.
A CABS team at Dingli Cliffs filmed another Honey Buzzard being shot down at 4:35pm on Friday.

CABS further reported that Bird Guards managed to film a trapper in Safi illegally trapping Quails.

The police were able to catch the man on his trapping site red-handed and will be charged accordingly.

A CABS team, sent to monitor the site yesterday evening, were accosted by a man who ran out of a nearby house and, without warning, struck one of the conservationists full in the face with his fist.

The 59-year-old volunteer had to receive medical treatment in Floriana. “The attacker was arrested the same evening by the police and spent the night in the cells. This morning the 40 year old was arraigned before the court and received a two year gaol sentence - with a conditional discharge for two years.”

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Luke Camilleri
U Gonzi u tieghu aktar mohhom fil photo-shoots milli iex jigu enforzati il-ligijiet! Basta jiprova jinthogob mal kaccaturi ghax fetahlu l-istagun tal-voti!