Hunters around Malta and Gozo took advantage of the good weather and deserted countryside to illegally hunt and trap birds over the past few weeks, before the government announced the opening of the spring hunting season.
BirdLife Malta documented the monitoring they carried out, together with the illegalities they came across, in a short video.
The organisation has been keeping tabs on the hunting situation especially since the containment of coronavirus meant roping in police officers from the Administrative Law Enforcement unit.
This meant enforcement was handled by the district police, which in some cases managed to attend to their calls.
Despite being illegal, BirdLife members noted and recorded Finch trapping during March and April in various parts of Malta and Gozo – especially the coastal areas.
“Trappers have evidently had a field day catching finches, with some even getting confiscated items back, and continuing to trap nonchalantly as we show in this video,” BirdLife said in a statement.
Finch trapping in Malta has been declared illegal by the European Court of Justice in June 2018.
The organisation highlighted that trapping, at this time of the year was illegal, but they noticed that catching Linnets was popular in coastal garrigue areas, with the trapping sites cleared of natural vegetation for the laying of nets.
They thanked the public for their support and reporting these incidents and the police for their action, despite the difficulties they were facing.
BirdLife said it would give its official reaction to the government’s decision to reopen the hunting season once the legal notice was issued.