Poor enforcement means illegal bird trapping up by 35%, says CABS
|Email item||Print item||
The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) in a statement today, said that “illegal bird trapping is up by 35%” – with 13 trappers caught red handed – CABS also accuse the government of “giving poachers free reign to trap during the closed season.”
According to the NGO, poor enforcement has lead to a “significant increase of illegal bird trapping in spring.”
However, police officers on Gozo, in one case seized all nets and several live decoys including 9 Linnets, 4 Greenfinches, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Serins and 1 Hawfinch.
CAB added that even though the trapping season is closed in spring, an aerial survey conducted this month revealed more than 180 active trapping sites on Malta and Gozo.”
“Compared to 2017, when 133 active sites were counted in a similar survey, this equates to an increase of about 35% in just one year,“ CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said.
The eNGO also criticised that the observed increase is it said, “a direct consequence of the government’s total failure or refusal to set up an effective and proactive enforcement system during the closed season.”
CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld stated, “with enough resources and clear instructions from above, the police could easily arrest dozens of trappers per day. Instead it seems that the responsible persons within the government have decided to look the other way and give the poachers free reign to trap birds during the closed season.“
CABS said that to fill the enforcement gap it has deployed a team which has monitored selected sites with video cameras and telescopes during the last 10 days.
“As soon as enough evidence was collected we called in the police who at least managed to catch 13 illegal trappers red-handed,” Fiona Burrows added.
She continued by saying that “ALE officers on Malta were ordered not to confiscate live decoys used despite being key pieces of evidence.”
According to CABS the government´s Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) “have been consistently unreachable by phone when assistance has been needed.”
CABS announced that it will continue its surveillance activity on Malta and Gozo until the end of April.
“The European Commission and the European Court of Justice, which is expected to rule about the future of finch trapping on Malta soon, will be informed about all results of the operation including the massive lack of proactive enforcement observed by the CABS activist,” said CABS.
Photo: Shows police officers and a bird trapper removing his nets in Santa Lucija (Gozo) last week