Malta: Bird trapping free-for-all in Gozo despite illegality


The trapping paraphernalia seized by Gozo police.
Tim Attard Montalto
Trapping in Gozo has gone on unabated throughout the autumn hunting season, according to information supplied by BirdLife Malta.

Despite trapping being illegal on Malta, a haul of live and stuffed protected birds was discovered last week thanks to BirdLife’s team of conservationists, who took photographic and filmed evidence of the trapping sites and contacted the police.

In the Ta’ Sarafflu area – considered to be a stronghold for hunters and trappers – BirdLife officials spotted at least three trapping sites operating with the use of illegal, recorded lures.

“The lures were switched off as soon as we were spotted, just minutes after arriving. After taking footage of the sites, the BirdLife team contacted the Victoria police station, having seen the trappers in question hiding their haul in one of two huts on the plot.

“Two police officers arrived on scene around 25 minutes later, and upon being shown the footage they went down to the hunting lodge to investigate. They returned empty-handed but the BirdLife team pointed out that they had not entered the second hut.

“The footage in fact shows the man taking the haul onto a wheelbarrow and wheeling it into the second hut, and then emerging without the stuffed birds and cages. The BirdLife team convinced the police to go back down.”

On their return, the trapper allegedly told the police that the second hut was not his. The police returned with a live lapwing, two stuffed lapwings, one redwing, two stuffed golden plovers, and five song thrush.

“The BirdLife team followed the police to Victoria police station to provide the evidence on the trapping. The police inspector then sent officers to remove the illegal nets.”

Since this incident, six other trapping sites have been vacated by trappers. “A combination of wind change, and possibly the alert due to the first incident, appears to have ‘scared’ off the trappers.”

There are now calls to ban all bird hunting in Cyprus, read the complete story published last week by Focusing on Wildlife. Sign the poll at the bottom of the article. Raptor Politics fully endorse what is being proposed for Cyprus, but we also consider the same initiative should be enforced on Malta.

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