CABS report “illegal bird trapping at night and inactivity of the Police”
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The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has sent an open letter to the Commissioner of the Malta Police Force, Lawrence Cutajar, on “illegal bird trapping at night and the inactivity of the Police.”
CABS said that from 2014 to 2017 its teams have been monitoring and reporting illegal night trapping of Golden Plover and other nocturnal bird species on Malta and Gozo during November and December.
CABS President Heinz Schwarze, in the letter stated that in the course of these operations “a total of 43 calls were made to the police, to report in excess of 100 illegal trapping sites and electronic lures.”
He noted that, “all reports were made by phone by our volunteers who informed the officer on duty that the illegalities were ongoing, and in all cases offered to meet with the police and lead them to the sites in question. 36 of these 43 reports were not acted upon.”
He added that, “by saying not acted upon, I do not mean that the police failed to prosecute anyone which would just be a sign of ineffectiveness. What I mean and what I blame you for is that the overwhelming majority of district police stations simply refused to respond to our reports, which can be interpreted as a systematic obstruction of justice.”
Schwarze also pointed out in the letter to the Police Commissioner that “in January 2016 your predecessor Michael Cassar announced in a media statement that ALE working hours would be adjusted so that their duties could commence before the standard 5am”
He added that, “this concept had the sole purpose of curbing illegal trapping at night. Unfortunately this announcement turned out to be an empty promise. Nearly 2 years later the situation is still totally out of control with electronic lures calling loud all over the island and the ALE not on duty after 9:30pm.”
“As a conservation NGO we cannot accept a continuation of this situation. Such a massive lack of enforcement forms a straight-forward breach of the EU´s Bird´s directive which commits Malta to strict supervision of the trapping regulations,” said Schwarze.
He concluded the letter by saying that, “we therefore urge you as the head of the Force to finally redeem Mr. Cassar´s promise, and to ensure that illegal nets and lures are being dismantled proactively and the offenders are prosecuted where possible.”
CABS stated that the photo above shows “one of the very few cases where the Gozo police responded to one of our reports and subsequently were able to dismantle an active trapping site in the night.”