Watch: Birdlife call for establishment of Wildlife Crime Unit

Birdlife Malta called for the establishment of a Wildlife Crime Unit within the Malta Police Force after claiming to have observed 41 illegalities in 31 trapping sites in 10 days of monitoring, and. The NGO published a video showing “only a small fraction of the true scale of illegal trapping that is occurring in Malta and Gozo on a daily basis.”

In a statement, Birdlife Malta said that the 2018 trapping station opened on the 20th October and will remain open until the 31st December. It said that throughout their surveillance in November, there were illegalities every day. These include the use of electronic callers, unattended nets or poles, nets with smaller mesh than authorised, and Lapwing and Finch trapping.

“Eleven of these sites where illegalities were detected were also unregistered according to the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) data.” The statement went on to say that there were 40 live finches siezed from three sites in Gozo on the first day. “All of them were either confiscated by the police to be passed on to the WBRU, or were released back into the wild on site,” the statement explained. 17 of the cases were meanwhile passed on to the police “with the hope of these resulting in successful court cases.

According to Birdlife Malta, many of the trappers were in areas which were difficult to see, or get to, which raises severe doubt as to the enforceability of the regulations. The environmentalists concluded saying that there simply aren’t enough enforcers compared to trappers, calling for the establishment of a Wildlife Crime Unit within the Malta Police Force.

Video:Birdlife Malta; Editing:Kinga Kupska