Stop taking credit for our work to hide your incompetence! The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has accused the Maltese Wild Bird Regulation Unit (WBRU) of falsely taking the credit of CABS efforts to whitewash its total failure to control illegal bird trapping in spring.The eNGO refers to a statement sent yesterday by the WBRU to the members of the European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL), an association of 51 environmental authorities in 36 countries, in which the head of WBRU, Mr. Sergei Golovkin, is reporting about Malta´s alledged “enforcement efforts” to combat illegal finch trapping in spring. In his statement Golovkin writes: “I wish to emphasize that these enforcement operations are being carried out in a constant and routine manner, and contrary to CABS allegations of “tolerance” towards illegalities, enforcement is effective and produces the desired results”. To undermine his remarks the head of the WBRU explains that two trappers have been apprehended and “17 active illegal trapping sites were located and dismantled, 12 live protected birds used as live decoys seized, and various trapping paraphernalia confiscated” as a “result of police patrols and WBRU´s enforcement action taken over the past two weeks”. The statement was published on the IMPEL network´s homepage: https://www.impel-esix.eu/reply-on-message-23-03-2017-about-mist-nets-on-malta/
In a reply from today CABS said that the seizures and apprehensions listed by the WBRU to impress their European collegues are 100% the results of CABS reports to the police. This refers to the number of illegal sites located and dismantled as well as to the seizure of 12 live protected birds. “All examples listed in the WBRU´s statement to demonstrate its “effectiveness” are in fact cases which have been documented and reported by CABS. If you remove the cases reported by our teams from the list the government stands there empty-handed”, CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld said. CABS also stressed that the number of 17 seizures or prosecutions, regardless of who reported them, is a minuscule number compared to cases reported by CABS to the police in the last 3 weeks. “We have mapped a total of 133 illegal active sites on a single morning, 54 of which have already been reported to the authorities with map locations/ photos of the nets installed by the poachers. The other 79 sites are being monitored by CABS teams to produce video evidence for the police to ensure prosecutions”, CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said. She added that CABS reports have led to the confiscation of at least 21 live decoys while the WBRU in its statement referred to only 12 birds seized.
By listing these data the WBRU has given proof that it has either no clue what is going on in the countryside or that it is deliberately downsizing the problem. It´s bad enough that the government does nothing against illegal trapping but it just takes the biscuit that they deceive the EU and IMPEL into believing that there is no problem”, Axel Hirschfeld said adding that the only ones benefitting from such actions are the poachers.
Our picture shows a leashed Linnet decoy found on an illegal trapping site on Gozo last week.