The German-based Committee Against Bird Slaughter has offered the police a model plane fitted with a camera to help it fight illegal trapping.

The plane is similar to the one that was allegedly gunned down last spring when it was being used to monitor hunting.

It later transpired in Parliament that neither the police nor Transport Malta had granted CABS permission to fly the drone, which hunters complained was used to spy on them.

This time the drone is only on offer to the police and will not be used by CABS volunteers.

CABS press officer Axel Hirschfeld said the committee made the offer to Police Commissioner John Rizzo a month ago but no reply has been received yet.

“There are still two weeks to go and I hope Mr Rizzo will accept the offer.

“I think that if used within the framework of police operations it will be a very good thing.”

CABS is returning to Malta well-equipped for the autumn hunting season, which opens tomorrow.

Some 32 bird guards will be deployed on the islands for three weeks, and some of them will be stationed in Gozo because administration and law enforcement officers have restricted operations there, it said.

Equipped with video cameras and high-performance spotting scopes, the guards, which include volunteers from Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the UK and the US will launch operation Honey Buzzard to monitor flight paths and night roosts of birds of prey, storks and herons.

They will report illegal hunting to the police and check on illegal clap nets and cage traps for turtle doves, quails and other protected species.

The autumn hunting season will end on January 31, just as in 2011.

CABS welcomed the news that, during the last two weeks of September, hunting will not be allowed between 3 p.m. and two hours before sunrise the following day. The government said this was to protect migrating raptors.

But CABS is “appalled” by the Ornis Committee’s recommendation to permit trapping golden plover in clap nets this year.

It pointed out that the use of clap nets, banned under the EU Bird Protection Guidelines, required a derogation. If issued, Malta “will certainly be strictly scrutinised by the European Commission”.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us