Poachers in Gozo destroyed protected carob trees to make way for an illegal trapping site, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has revealed in a statement.
Located in a public family park in Qala, the net was about five metres high and eight metres long, with a member of CABS spotting several dead birds hanging on it.
CABS immediately reported the case to the police, who arrived within 20 minutes and, with the help of birdwatchers, dismantled and confiscated the net. They also discovered that several protected carob trees were chopped down to make room for the net.
A total of five dead protected birds – one Wood Warbler, one Spotted Flycatcher and three Spanish Sparrows – were found entangled in the net.
“This is a very severe case which involves trapping and killing of protected birds, brutal cruelty to animals as well as the destruction of protected trees on government-owned land. We expect the Gozo police to conduct a full investigation and use all means to identify the culprits,” CABS said.
Hunting has generated controversy in recent weeks. This year’s spring hunting season saw at least 44 protected birds shot down, while Birdlife has said thousands of protected turtle dove were also shot down.
Meanwhile, conservationists and the hunting lobby are locked in a battle over the government’s proposal to hand over large swathes of public land at l-Aħrax and Miżieb to hunters.
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