Għaxaq Raid: 136 Live Protected Birds And Poaching Items Seized, One Man Apprehended
At least 136 live protected birds have been seized following an investigation by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS).
CABS said it had “led police to one of the largest illegal live bird collections seized on Malta in recent years.” The group said it had discovered a field near Għaxaq was being used for large-scale illegal trapping and that a multitude of protected birds were being held on the same property.
“The information was handed over to the Environmental Protection Unit (EPU) who – together with experts from the Wild Bird Regulation Unit (WBRU) – inspected the site and confiscated two sets of large clap-nets and a total of 136 live protected birds from 18 different species,” CABS said.
Several plastic decoys and stuffed herons – another protected species – were also taken as evidence.
A male suspect was apprehended on site. He is expected to be prosecuted for illegal trapping and illegal possession of protected species. According to CABS the suspect may also face charges for animal cruelty violations.
The live birds found on the site include:
16 green sandpipers, 16 wood sandpipers, 16 common sandpipers, 16 greenfinches, 13 little ringed plovers, 12 linnets, nine little stints, nine siskins, eight chaffinches, five common ringed plovers, five serins, three black-winged stilts, two tree sparrows, two Temminck’s stints, one goldfinch, one yellow wagtail, one red-throated pipit and one greenshank.
The birds were inspected by a vet and later released in the Ghadira Nature Reserve.
Experts from BirdLife Malta assisted in the logging and banding of every bird with a scientific ring before the release.
“Unfortunately due to the terrible conditions that the birds were kept in, eight of the waders did not survive, another sic were too ill to release and must first recover in a rehab centre,” CABS noted. “A large number of the others suffered from deliberately cut flight feathers and concretions of faeces on the feet due to unsuitable living conditions, however they will still be able to be released in the near future.”
CABS thanked the police officers and the WBRU for their fast response and hard work on this case. The NGO said that its teams will continue to search for illegal trapping sites and monitor the ongoing hunting season until the end of the year.
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