A video released earlier today by Birdlife Malta paints a bleak picture for trapping in Malta.
Over a period of ten days, Birdlife detected 41 illegalities over 31 trapping sites, 11 of which weren’t even registered with the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) as required by law.
Illegalities included the use of prohibited electronic callers, finding nets and poles unattended, watching trappers using nets of an unauthorised mesh size, and detecting incidents of lapwing (venewwa) and finch trapping.
Seventeen incidents were reported to the police for further investigations, and several birds were rescued and either freed or passed on to the WBRU.
The study is particularly concerning as it covers only a small part of the trapping season, which opened officially on October 20th and closes on December 31st. Illegalities were registered on every day of the ten day study period, evidencing the rampant abuse and disregard for the law that some trappers seem to operate with.
Birdlife has also highlighted how several trapping sites are difficult to access, which makes it skeptical as to how effectively the police and WRBU can monitor these sites.
Around 1,500 trappers registered for the 2018 season, and Birdlife has voiced its concern that the number of police and WRBU officers is nowhere near sufficient to properly enforce the law. It reiterated its calls for a Wildlife Crime Unit to be established within the Malta Police Force.