Remains of protected species found in Mizieb 'bird cemetery'

Volunteers found remains of protected birds in the Mizieb woodland, poacher is apprehended near Tas-Santi, large quail trapping site found in Gozo

A live quail decoy used in a trapping site in Gozo
A live quail decoy used in a trapping site in Gozo
A police officer documents the remains of a Nightjar
A police officer documents the remains of a Nightjar
A trapping site in Ta' Cenc
A trapping site in Ta' Cenc

According to CABS volunteers, the remains of a total of 10 protected birds -  5 Marsh Harriers, 1 Montagu's Harrier, 1 Honey Buzzard, 1 Hoopoe, a Nightjar and a Cuckoo - have been found concealed underneath stones in the eastern part of the Mizieb woodland last Thursday.

"The Nightjar and the Cuckoo definitely died during this year´s spring hunting season whereas the other birds appear to have been killed and hidden last autumn", CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said. The police were called as soon as the first dead birds were uncovered. All carcasses have been seized as evidence.

In contrast to the years 2009 and 2010 when birdwatchers found more than 270 dead protected birds in all parts of Mizieb, the finds from last week were limited to a small section of the area close to Xemxija hill. CABS called on the authorities to conduct a comprehensive inquiry and publish the results as soon as possible.

Hirschfeld said,  "The public has a right to know what is going on in Mizieb, which the FKNK claims to manage as a hunting reserve for its members". Despite several requests made to the authorities, the outcome of the investigations from 2009 and 2010 have never been published. "If the new government really means business, they should not repeat this mistake and move towards total transparancy", CABS General Secretary Alexander Heyd said.

CABS also said that its teams have heard more than 140 shots after the official end of the spring hunting season last Wednesday, most of them on the Delimara peninsula and on Gozo. One hunter was apprehended by the police close to Tas-Santi where he was spotted by CABS last Thursday morning. When the man realised that he was being observed he locked his shotgun in a hide and ran off. He was later identified by police officers who also found and seized the weapon.

On the same day a CABS team on Gozo found a massive illegal Quail trapping site on the Ta´ Cenc Plateau, which is designated a NATURA 2000 site and forms part of the European network of special areas of conservation. The Bird Guards called the police, who confiscated 4 illegal nets covering an area of about 80 square meters as well as 4 live Quails used as decoys.

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