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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

IAR to support Operation Safe Haven in Malta

International Animal Rescue will be working to combat illegal bird hunting in Malta again this autumn during a two week camp to monitor and record illegal shooting and trapping activity.

Honey BuzzardThe camp, named Operation Safe Haven, is being organised by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS). It will take place from 11 September to 4 October during the autumn migration, and involve 32 volunteer bird guards. This is the seventh year that International Animal Rescue in Malta will be working with the CABS team. Activities will include monitoring and recording of illegal trapping and hunting of protected bird species and assisting the Malta Police in the detection and apprehension of offenders.

The volunteers, from Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom and the USA will be supported by three full-time CABs staff and a veterinary surgeon. Eight mobile teams, with operational areas of some 15 square kilometers, will be deployed daily to cover as much of the island as possible. Their efforts will be concentrated on the poaching hot spots known from previous CABS' operations such as the areas around Girgenti, Rabat, Siggiewi, Zurrieq, Marsascala, Luqa und Dingli, as well as the important bird of prey night roosts in Buskett, Mzieb und on the Mellieha Ridge. "Those observed shooting at protected bird species will be recorded and photographed by our well-equipped teams and reported to the police" says Heinz Schwarze, president of CABS.

In past years poachers have increasingly invaded night roosts, frightened the birds with spotlights, and shot them down from their perches. To combat this CABS teams will protect large night roosts throughout the night. Night viewing devices and infra-red cameras will be issued to selected team members to enable identification of offenders and their vehicles in the hours of darkness.

The operation will as always be discussed and agreed in advance with the Malta Police. During the annual bird protection camps on Malta over the past few years CABS teams have had a good record of success in detecting illegal poaching and reporting offenders to the authorities.