Three Maltese citizens are facing charges for poaching after being caught red-handed by Romanian police while shooting protected birds with no hunting licence, according to a statement by Valcea County Police.
The three men, aged 24, 49 and 62, were taken in by officers from Romanian Bureau of Explosive Weapons and Dangerous Substances on 21 January who found 19 shot birds of five different species in their possession. The hunting of four of those species is prohibited. The investigation revealed that the men had no authorisation to hunt, which led to the police opening a criminal case against the three men for poaching.
“Between January 16-21 this year, three Maltese citizens, have shot 19 specimens of different species for which they did not have hunting authorisation”, according to the statement by the police in Romania.
The officers of the Bureau of Explosive Weapons and Dangerous Substances were carrying out inspections when they spotted the men in possession of shot birds protected by law. The men’s car, trailer and boat, as well as the three weapons used, which were all rented locally, were seized by the officers on site.
The Romanian police said that the impact of the total damage caused by illegal hunting was estimated to be around 10,000 lei (€2,092). It is not yet known if the Maltese citizens were detained or what consequences they face if found guilty. Questions sent to the Valcea County Police were not yet answered at the time of writing.
Last year, before the controversial spring hunting season had even started, Birdlife Malta received a number of illegally shot birds found by members of the public.
Trapping also remains a problem, with Birdlife Malta saying earlier this month that while changes in legislation were implemented to appease the trapping lobby, “nothing changed with respect to enforcement and evidence collected during the past months”. This shows police presence was lacking and, at times, absent, the environmental organisation said.