Six dead protected Marsh Harriers were found in Delimara on Friday while seven illegal bird trapping installations were found and shut down in Gozo on Wednesday, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) said in a statement.
The statement comes merely six days after the opening of the spring hunting season. The eNGO said that its team members found five protected Marsh Harriers in Delimara on Friday morning in two freshly harvested fields. A search by police in that area recovered five freshly shot Marsh Harriers – four of them still alive – in the same area on Tuesday morning.
CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows noted the significance of Delimara in the roosting for harriers during spring. “These fields are located in one of the worst black spots for poaching in Malta,” she said.
In total, since Tuesday, ten dead Marsh Harriers have been found in the area.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday CABS staff, and local police shut down seven illegal bird trapping installations in Gozo. These installations included “two 20-metre-long clap-nets and a large cage trap for turtle doves, from which six freshly caught birds were freed,” according to the statement.
Near San Lawrenz, two large mist nets and four small cage traps for trapping Turtle Dove were discovered and dismantled on a garden plot. Near Marsalforn, CABS led the police to no less than three large quail nets, which were “baited” with numerous live decoy birds. A total of 12 live quails were confiscated and released. In addition, two electronic decoy callers from which quail songs were played were also seized, the eNGO said.
The police have initiated preliminary proceedings against the landowners.
Other illegalities identified by the organisation this week include spotting a poacher catching “extremely rare” Ortolan buntings on a trapping site in Gharghur – who will be taken to court after being apprehended by Environmental Protection Unit Officers, as well as an unattended 14-year-old minor with a loaded shotgun.
“The kid was filmed sitting alone in a hunting hide, holding the loaded shotgun and looking for birds,” they said.