14 cases of illegal trapping reported to police in last 12 days – CABS
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The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has said in a statement that “in the last 12 days our teams have reported a total of 14 cases of illegal bird trapping which involved at least 20 individuals and leading to the confiscation of 10 sets of clap nets and dozens of live protected birds.”
“Unfortunately the overwhelming majority of trappers could not be arrested as they ran off after seeing the police or being tipped off by one of the many watchmen working for them,” CABS Operations Officer Lloyd Scott said
Six men were observed by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) on Tuesday morning while they were “illegally trapping birds on a 1-km square coastal strip west of Imtahleb,” the NGO said.
According to CABS the men were operating five large clap net installations, which it said was “equipped with live decoys and electronic calling machines to attract protected finch species.”
CABS said that the police were called “and needed around 45 Minutes to arrive with one patrol car.”
“However, when they saw the officers the poachers hastily collected their equipment and fled towards the parking lot at Migra A-Ferha where they were expected and filmed by another CABS team,” the NGO said.
CABS Operations Officer Lloyd Scott said, “as the first police patrol was still busy with dismantling the abandoned nets, we called the police HQ again and asked them to send a second unit which arrived within 15 minutes and apprehended two poachers before they could drive away. A third trapper tried to drive off with his car but was stopped after a short chase.”
Scott added that, “wile these three men are expected to be summoned to court in due course and two other suspects managed to escape.”
The sixth trapper was finally spotted on the road leading down to Migra A-Ferha but was able to leave the scene without facing question, he added.
“We have provided the police with video evidence which clearly shows this individual’s face and his illegal activity and we expect the authorities to utilise all their resources to subsequently identify him,” Scott said.
He went on to explain that, “while Tuesday´s operation in Imtahleb marks the biggest sting of the CABS campaign against illegal bird trapping so far this spring; it is just one of many incidents exposed by the NGO.”
He added that “illegal trapping is at an all time-high for spring with more than 200 freshly cleared trapping sites being counted on Malta and Gozo during a single aerial survey,” he said.
According to CABS “the highest density of active sites can be found along the western coast of Malta and the headlands of western Gozo.”
Scott argued that “though the authorities are well aware that these areas are poaching hotspots they seem to do hardly anything proactive to bring the situation under control.
“This is unacceptable and seeing the massive scale of abuse one could get the impression that this wildlife crime is being actively tolerated,” Scott added.
CABS concluded that “to counterbalance the ineffective enforcement the NGO will continue with its field investigations until mid-April.”
Photo: Protected Linnets seized by the police in Dingli last week – Photo and video by CABS