In the last 12 days, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has reported 14 cases of illegal bird trapping in Malta involving at least 20 individuals and leading to the confiscation of dozens of live protected birds.
The international organisation said illegal trapping was 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.
The highest density of active sites can be found along the western coast of Malta and Gozo.
“Though the authorities are well aware that these areas are poaching hot spots 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“, CABS Operations Officer Lloyd Scott said.
The organisation’s biggest sting so far this spring occurred last Tuesday, when six men were observed trapping illegally on the coast at Mtahleb. Three of the men are expected to face charges. Two managed to escape. The sixth trapper was finally spotted on the road, but he was able to leave the scene without facing any questioning.
CABS said it provided video evidence to the police in which his face was clearly visible when illegally trapping for protected species. The organisation said it expected the authorities to do all they could to identify him.
A video released by CABS documents some of the worst cases of illegal bird trapping discovered so far. The lack of effective enforcement was leading to more abuse, the NGO said, pledging it would continue its field investigations.