45 finches seized from 3 Gozo trapping sites in just 1 day – BirdLife
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BirdLife Malta has today released a video documenting this year’s trapping season. In a statement it said that there were 41 illegalities detected by BirdLife Malta staff in just ten days of monitoring.
“This is only a small fraction of the true scale of illegal trapping that is occurring in Gozo and Malta on a daily basis,” it said.
BLM said that “forty live finches were seized from three finch trapping sites on Gozo on one day alone; all of them were either confiscated by the police to be passed on to WBRU, or were released back into the wild on site.”
BLM explained that the video contains footage that was gathered by BirdLife Malta staff whilst monitoring trapping activity across the Maltese countryside. The 2018 trapping season opened on October 20th, and will remain open until December 31st.
It said that the current trapping derogation allows the trapping of Song Thrush (Malvizz) and Golden Plover (Pluviera), whilst the trapping of finches was ruled illegal earlier on in the year following the ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
“During ten days of fieldwork in November, trapping illegalities were detected every day, BirdLife Malta said. “In total 41 illegalities were found on at least 31 different trapping sites, which included hearing electronic callers, finding nets and/or poles left unattended, seeing trappers using nets of an unauthorised mesh size, and detecting incidents of Lapwing (Venewwa) and finch trapping.”
“Eleven of these sites where illegalities were detected were also unregistered according to Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) data,” it added.
Seventeen of these incidents were passed to the police for further investigations, with the hope of these resulting in successful court cases.
BirdLife Malta stated that many of the trapping sites are on areas that are either difficult to see and/or access, “which raises the question of how exactly the police and the Wild Birds Regulation Unit manage to monitor sites in these areas.”
“Given the lack of adequate and sufficient enforcement, which has led to trappers disobeying the laws set out in the trapping derogation, this highlights the fact that the trapping season should not have been opened in the first place,” it added.
BirdLife Malta concluded by saying that “round 1,500 trappers registered for the season in 2018, and there are simply not the number of police or WBRU officers available to ensure that the law is being upheld; this is why BirdLife Malta believes that a Wildlife Crime Unit within the Malta Police Force needs to be established.”
Photo by BirdLife Malta; video BirdLife Malta with editing by Kinga Kupska