Migrant bird protection camps on Malta
In order to take practical measures to stop the shooting of migrant birds on Malta, we have run a migrant bird protection camp on the islands every spring since 2001. The participants, mostly CABS members from Malta, Italy and Germany, are divided into groups and positioned at hunting and poaching ‘hot spots’ at dawn and dusk. These teams of activists, equipped with binoculars, mobile phones and video cameras, observe the hunters’ activities and document all infringements of Maltese environmental legislation. As soon as a culprit can be identified, the Maltese environmental police unit ALE are alarmed, and they are on the spot very quickly. If the CABS teams are spotted poaching usually stops anyway. Many hunters, for fear of being caught, break off hunting completely and go home.
During daylight hours, CABS members run controls of pet shops and bird markets, map trapping installations, and schedule meetings with the authorities and partner organisations. During the hours of darkness groups comb outlying areas for illegal electronic lures. These cassette recorders are used primarily to lure Quails migrating by night to the areas in front of the shooting hides, where they are shot at when day breaks. The devices are mostly concealed in concrete bunkers or buried oil drums with the loudspeakers at the end of long cables in the scrub. Bolt cutters and angle grinders are used to remove and disable the devices. More than 2 dozen of these electronic lures – each worth some 250 Euros – are removed each year in this way.