Poachers are taking advantage of reduced police resources, CABS, the Munich-based Committee Against Bird Slaughter said on Tuesday.

The members of the police Administrative Law Enforcement unit, which monitors observance of hunting laws, are currently busy with duties related to the coronavirus crisis.

“Illegal trapping is rampant everywhere and the poachers know that the ALE have no resources to catch them”, CABS Wildlife Crime Officer Fiona Burrows said in a statement.

CABS said that it has cancelled most of its operations and bird protection camps in the Mediterranean, because of coronavirus.

“Due to the restrictions and quarantine regulations being rolled out across Europe in recent days and the inevitable escalation in the coming days and weeks, we have decided to suspend our volunteer-based bird protection camps this spring until further notice," it said.

It said however, that staff members and affilitates are still present in various  areas including Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Lebanon.

"In Malta local-based CABS staff members and volunteers are continuing to monitor compliance with hunting law. Since the beginning of last week nine cases of illegal trapping were filmed in St Paul´s Bay, Wardija, Ta' Santi, Tal Palma, Mistra Bay, Fawwara and in Delimara. On March 11 one trapper was caught red handed in a field below Selmun Palace and had his nets and 16 live decoys – mostly Linnets - confiscated by the police. Video evidence for the other eight cases have been sent to the police”, Burrows said. adding that for the time being all CABS reports to the police will be submitted via Email and DVD to be dealt with when the virus situation relaxes. 

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