Trapper’s hunting licence is suspended, €1,200 fine
A young man filmed by a CABS team illegally trapping Dotterel near Sarraflu last week appeared today before Gozo Magistrates Court in Victoria. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a fine of €1,200. In addition his hunting licence was suspended for one year and his trapping equipment, to the value of several thousand euros, was confiscated.
The seven Dotterels used by the man as decoys, and seized by the police, were released into the wild last week by employees of MEPA. CABS volunteer Lloyd Scott, who was called as a witness but was not required to give verbal evidence as the trapper pleaded guilty, greeted the verdict “We are more than pleased that the police and the courts have reacted rapidly and effectively in this case. We hope that this will serve as an example and deterrence to other would-be illegal trappers”.
We will be closely monitoring the trapping scene before the start of the official season for Thrush and Golden Plover on 20 October” he continued. Another trapper from the same area, whose site had been identified by a CABS team in 2012, was also in court in Gozo today charged with illegal trapping and a similar sentence was handed down by the magistrate.
Another man, who was filmed by a CABS team illegally trapping waders near Zurrieq last week (18 Sep) will also have to appear in court in due course. According to CABS, around 5.00 am the man had activated three 40 m long clap nets and an electronic decoy to trap Redshank and Sandpipers.
“The complete installation was as large as a football field and its perimeter had been extensively planted to shield it from curious eyes” commented CABS President Heinz Schwarze. According to CABS, one of the trappers caught at Zurrieq is clearly an incurable poacher who has had dealings with the police on several occasions.
Police sources have further confirmed that the man had already been caught with illegal clap nets at the same trapping site at the beginning of last week - only days before CABS filmed him trapping again. “The fact that the man was caught at the same site again trapping protected species shows that he has a complete disregard for the law” comments Schwarze. Further research by CABS and BirdLife Malta have revealed that the same trapping site was the subject of police investigations at least six times in the period 2008-2012.
In every case it involved protected bird species. CABS therefore calls for the complete site to be closed down once and for all and for the owner to be banned from trapping for life. In another incident CABS assisted in the apprehension of a poacher above Salina who, at 4.30 in the morning, had attempted to lure protected wader species to his hide using an electronic decoy.
A police/AFM patrol alerted by CABS closed in on the man under the cover of darkness and effected an arrest. He will also be charged in due course. Last Thursday (17 Sep) CABS alerted the ALE to two active electronic wader decoys running at night near Marsascala, with associated clap nets and (again) at Salina. In both cases the culprits fled before the arrival of the police. On 16 Sep luck however ran out for a trapper near Mgarr (Malta) who – a good two weeks before the start of the official trapping season – had attempted to trap Golden Plovers using a clap net and plastic bird decoys. His arrest was also a result of information from a CABS team. He will later appear in court.