Around 300 wild finches that were likely smuggled into the country from Italy have been confiscated from a Gozitan property.
Birdlife Malta said that the Gozo Police and the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) conducted the seizure earlier this month. It is believed that the birds were going to be used as live decoys for illegal bird trapping.
“Probably trapped illegally in Italy, these birds were destined to be sold amongst local trappers and from different pet shops,” Birdlife said.
The confiscated birds included five different species: European Serin, European Goldfinch, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet and Common Chaffinch, the majority of which were juvenile birds, kept in very poor conditions, crammed in tiny cages.
All birds were handed over to BirdLife Malta for rehabilitation, ringing and release following clearance and treatment by vets.
Birdlife warned that the find comes soon after WBRU invited trappers to apply for another ‘research derogation’ on finches, which they said is just a smokescreen to continue trapping illegally.
The ORNIS Committee is expected to formally decide on this year’s derogation on 13th October.
” Trapping of such wild birds creates a huge demand for live decoy birds and illegal smugglers in networks between Italy and Malta oblige to the demand created by the derogation itself,” it said.
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