Poachers hide their faces, running away from Police in Gozo – CABS
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34 cases of illegal bird trapping have documented and reported. to the police in the last two weeks by volunteers of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS). It also said that there has been a “major clampdown on Gozo.”
12 of these incidents are when CABS activists filmed finch-trappers red-handed and called the police. CABS said that a total of 19 suspects were involved in these 12 incidents, 10 of which have already been identified by the police and are expected to be taken to court.
In addition to these 12 cases CABS said that it also reported the locations of an additional 22 unregistered trapping sites to the police.CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows stated that, “all of these sites were found cleared and with freshly installed clap nets on them. Gozo contains a much greater concentration of illegal sites according to our results.”
Footage from last weekend has been published by CABS today which shows several Gozitan poachers “in desperate attempts to hide their faces when they realise that their illegal activity is being filmed.”
CABS added that the footage also documents how the men hastily collect cages with live finches and run off when they see the police coming.
“At least one of the poachers has already been identified and will face trial soon. It turned out that he registered the site he used for illegal finch trapping as a live capturing station for Song Thrush and Golden Plover,” said CABS.
It added that, “according to the new regulations his license will be revoked. On top of that the man sees his trapping equipment and 6 live birds (2 linnet, 2 chaffinch, 2 song thrush) confiscated.”
CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said, “we are still analysing our video footage and are confident that the material will lead to more arrests in the coming days.”
She added that CABS reports also resulted in the confiscation of 61 live protected birds, 15 clap nets and extensive paraphernalia used to trap protected finches.The results of their ongoing fieldwork are “strong proof that the new trapping derogation is systematically misused to trap finches and other protected birds,” said CABS.
“We wonder how many additional cases have been uncovered by the police and WBRU due to their own investigations and monitoring work,” CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said, adding that the cases reported by CABS are just a “small fraction of the true scale of illegalities.”
Axel Hirschfeld concluded that “Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri must accept the fact that most trappers don´t give a damn about his plea to follow the rules and instead continue to trap protected finches at an unprecedented scale. The only way to safeguard his credibility and to stop the ongoing poaching is to close the season with immediate effect.”
Photo shows two of the masked finch trappers filmed on Gozo (screenshots) and CABS photo of Officers of the Gozo Police with seized birds and trapping equipment