A bird trapper caught red-handed at a Natura 2000 site in Gozo threatened to hurl a stone at a group of youths who came across his illegal finch trapping site, BirdLife Malta has claimed. 

In footage published online, the man can be seen holding a black cloth to mask his face as he gestures for the group to stop filming him and move along. When they fail to comply, he picks a rock up from the ground and holds it aloft. 

WATCH: Bird trapping frenzy on Maltese coastline

BirdLife Malta said that the incident happened last Sunday at Sanap cliffs in Munxar. The footage has been passed on to police and a report has been filed, the group said. 

The group said illegal trapping was especially rampant in Gozo, as the island still lacked an Administrative Law Enforcement police unit dedicated to rooting out poachers and illegal trappers. 

BirdLife said that on Sunday alone, its members were alerted to illegal trapping in Għargur, Bengħajsa, Qrendi, Munxar Point at St Thomas Bay and Mtaħleb. Just one ALE vehicle was dispatched to investigate, it said, as it bemoaned the "ridiculous" situation whereby police had no resources to keep offenders in check. 

"This leads us to question whether the government has the will to enforce or if, in reality, it is turning a blind eye to illegal trapping during the closed season," the group said, as it renewed its calls for the creation of a dedicated Wildlife Crime Unit. 

Yesterday, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter claimed that trappers had littered the Maltese coastline with illegal trapping sites, with activists counting at least 133 such sites in the course of a single aerial survey. 

CABS said that it would be reporting the Maltese government to the European Commission for its "de facto tolerance of illegal trapping".


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