Update: CABS have said the Dotterel trapper from Sarraflu filmed by CABS this morning was identified and is being questioned in the Victoria police station at the moment.
Earlier this afternoon CABS said that its volunteers today caught a bird trapper who was trapping dotterel (Birwina) with a huge net installation near Sarraflu, Gozo. According to the conservationists, early this morning at around 08.15 a Bird Guards team filmed a man in a blue T-shirt – probably in his late twenties – activating a clap net and setting out cages containing live decoy birds.
“Shortly before the arrival of the police the man received a phone call and began to deactivate the nets. As he realised that the officers had almost reached the site, he panicked and fled with the birds in their cages,” reports CABS member Craig Redmond, whose team had discovered the site.
“His flight will not rescue him from the long arm of the Maltese law however. “We have photos of the man setting his net and with the decoy birds in his hand. Identification should be no problem for the police.” Craig Redmond comments.
CABS said that when the police arrived on the site “they discovered four 50 m long clap nets, a pond and plastic decoys and a single live Dotterel in a cage. After an exhaustive search of over an hour the Bird Guards found a further 6 cages and live birds that the man had discarded along the path of his hasty flight.
“The birds, three adult and four juvenile birds, which had been provided with neither feed nor water under a blazing sun, were seized by the police and, with assistance of the CABS team, transported to the police station in Victoria. Some of them are clearly in need of veterinary treatment.”
According to CABS the Dotterel is a plover species that enjoys strict protection under both the European bird protection guidelines as well as the African-Eurasian treaty on the protection of water birds (AEWA).
CABS said that the species breeds in the arctic tundra and passes through Malta on the way to its winter quarters in Africa, The birds are highly prized by Maltese trappers and collectors and it is believed that a living specimen can bring several hundred euros on the black market.
“Another case of illegal bird trapping was discovered this morning close to Buskett, only a few hundred metres from Verdala Palace.,” CABS said.
“This consisted of a clap net mounted on top of an aviary containing about a dozen Turtle Doves, several Blackbirds and a Golden Plover and is clearly designed for trapping birds. ALE officers seized the trap and are interviewing the owner of the property where the trap was found,” CABS concluded.
Photographs – CABS