An ortolan bunting poacher was caught red-handed yesterday and is expected to be taken to court shortly, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter said this afternoon.

It said in a statement the trapper was spotted by one of its teams at 6am yesterday close to the Dingli radar station. The trapper used a 15-meter long clap net, an illegal bird caller and a live decoy. CABS said the police responded to their report within five minutes.

“Thanks to the quick response the poacher was caught red-handed and is expected to be taken to court soon”, wildlife crime officer Fiona Burrows said.

The ortolan bunting is a songbird species of conservation concern in most countries of the EU.

According to the European Commission, one reason for its massive decline is illegal trapping. A single bird can be sold for several hundreds of euros on the black market, CABS said.

Apart from this case, CABS said its bird guards also observed several other hunting related offences in the past four days. These included shooting at protected marsh harriers in Selmun, the illegal use of bird callers and automatic shotguns capable of firing more than three shots, violations of the afternoon hunting curfew and hunting too close to a secondary road.

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