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Bird protection patrol vehicle attacked in Malta

Vandalised bird protection patrol vehicleAfter yesterday’s reports of an outbreak of rampant illegal hunting in Malta, the windscreen of a rented bird protection patrol vehicle has been smashed. A 50 kilo boulder was used to damage the car which was parked at the roadside. The incident occurred in the early hours of the morning while two teams from the Committee Against Bird Slaughter, in the company of ALE police officers, were investigating reports of illegal hunting and trapping on the Delimar peninsula. Max Farrugia, Chairman of International Animal Rescue in Malta, said that no one was injured during this cowardly attack but it is assumed that it is nothing but an act of revenge on the part of bird poachers.

Conservationists successfully filmed a poacher with a weapon in his hand and caught a Quail trapper red-handed in the same area (Ta´ Lombardi valley). The environmental police unit ALE is investigating both cases. The deliberate attack on the CABS vehicle is the latest in a series of acts of violence against bird conservationists on Malta. At the beginning of last week the rear window of a BirdLife vehicle was shattered by a shotgun blast.

Just a few days later hunters attacked a foreign bird protection team and knocked an Italian member to the ground. Near Imtahleb graffiti with anti-German slogans and bird symbols were found, including the threat “you Germans will pay for this”.

The CABS team is adamant that they will continue to guard the birds during migration in the coming days and no threats will prevent them from doing their duties towards the migratory birds which are not the property of the Maltese nation. As soon as the bird protection camp is over the CABS officers will compile a report and forward it immediately to the European Union, together with both audio and visual evidence.

This is not the first time there has been a violent incident in the area. Some years ago a member of IAR’s team was attacked while taking photographs of illegal hunting and trapping in the area. He was in his car and preparing to drive away when a hunter/trapper approached him and smashed a song bird against the windscreen, shouting "If this is what you want you can have it!" He then fired three shots in the air. The attack caused the assaulted man to suffer a minor heart attack and resulted in his spending several days in hospital.