Twenty-one illegal trapping sites for finches and other songbirds were identified within one week of teams having been formed in Malta to monitor the situation as spring approaches, CABS, the Munich-based anti-hunting group said on Wednesday.

The teams found ‘clap-nets’ up to 20 metres long, which are triggered by hand from a trapping hut.

In joint operations with the Environmental Protection Unit, seven bird trappers were caught red-handed, freeing numerous freshly caught birds, the group said.

"The illegal capture and sale of finches is a big business in Malta, costing thousands of wild birds their freedom every year. The caught birds are sold for up to €100 each on the black market," it added.

CABS said its teams will be active on the ground until the beginning of May in order to shut down trapping sites and to monitor the spring hunting season.

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