Volunteers working in the field for BirdLife Malta have faced danger as they report on illegal hunting and trapping activities. Earlier this week a car belonging to volunteers of the Spring Watch Camp was vandalized. Two tires were cut and the windshield was smashed.
In a separate incident this season, vandals left pieces of wood with nails in them along the path of volunteers’ cars, in an attempt to puncture the tires. The volunteers are reporting on direct violations to the EU Birds Directive.
Source: Spring Watch Camp volunteers face increasing threats and attacks
Posted in Europe, Law, Malta
A 70-year-old Belgian was arrested by Dutch police in Liempde last Saturday for possessing 32 illegally-held birds. The birds, including Chaffinches and two types of lark, were found to be illegally ringed. The handler was fined €1250.
The birds were confiscated by authorities and will be examined. If they are healthy the birds will be released into the wild.
In recent years the Netherlands has seen an increase in illegal bird trade. In this case the police were tipped off by a citizen.
Source: Flinke boete voor illegale vogels Liempde
The Dutch authorities have confiscated 2199 illegally traded birds in the Netherlands so far this year. That is almost double the number confiscated in the same period last year.
The illegal bird trade in the Netherlands continues to flourish because the rewards are so high. Some birds, such as raptors, sell for as much as 400 euros.
The illegally traded birds are often banded so they can be traded more openly. But the banding is sometimes done by unqualified banders which results in injuries to the birds.
Source: Grote stijging in beslag genomen vogels
The European Commission is taking Germany, Austria and Poland to the European Court of Justice for failure to comply with the Birds Directive. The three countries have failed to designate sufficient Special Protection Areas.
Eight countries that joined the EU in 2004 will also receive warnings for failure to comply with the Directive. Of the states that joined in 2004, only Estonia is currently in compliance.
Read more about the Commission’s actions.
Posted in Aside, Europe, Law
Since joining the EU in 2004 Malta has allowed the hunting of Turtle Doves and Quails, against the European Birds Directive. Hunting during the Spring migration is prohibited by the EU.
The European Commission began legal action against Malta in June 2006, with the case expected before court later this year. Malta’s hunting season is scheduled to end on May 20th. BirdLife in Malta reported illegal hunting outside the official season earlier this year.
Read more about Malta’s breach of EU law and the effect on migratory birds.
Approximately 25 waterfowl on the Dinkel in Twente, the Netherlands, were found illegally shot last week. The majority of corpses found were those of geese, all of which had been filleted after being shot.
On Monday 15 January, hikers found the cadavers spread over a kilometer along the banks of the Dinkel. The geese and ducks were killed with shot. The killers filleted the birds for their meat and dumped the decimated corpses in or next to the water. The police are seeking witnesses.
Source: Stropers schieten tientallen watervogels in Twente
“The EU Commission has announced that the ban on imports of birds caught in the wild is to be made permanent throughout the European Union later this year.”
“The move comes after a temporary ban was imposed within the EU in October 2005, after birds in a UK quarantine centre were found to have avian influenza.
The ban is to take effect from the 1 July 2007.”
Read more about the ban.
Posted in Aside, Europe, Law
Egg collecting is a dangerous and illegal activity that began when Victorian-era explorers returned to the U.K. with exotic treasures from around the world, including bird eggs. Today the ‘sport’ is practiced by an alarming number of furtive obsessives who break the law each time they add to their collections.
A special police task force dubbed Operation Easter was started in the late 1990’s, when egg thieves appeared to be on the rise. At that time, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds received about one nest theft report per day. Last year, the RSPB received just over 50 reports. Taking wild eggs has been illegal since 1954, and imprisonment became a possible punishment in 2001. Still, the threat of fines and jail time does not discourage the most hard-core egg collectors, some of whom have been living with their obsession since childhood.
Read The Guardian’s investigative report.
The juvenile court in Lelystad, the Netherlands, has sentenced three youths to public service for the abuse of two cormorants.
The youths, all younger than 21, dragged the birds behind motorized bikes and threw stones at them.
Two of the youths must perform 25 hours of pubic service. The third youth, who already had a record with the court, was given a sentence of 80 hours. A fourth suspect, an adult, is still to be tried. The birds were targeted because they depleted the fish population in the canals of Urk.
Source: Jongeren veroordeeld voor mishandeling aalscholvers
Two conservation groups in Wyoming are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service for refusing to protect the Mountain Plover under the Endangered Species Act. The two groups, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance and Forest Guardians, claim that the Fish and Wildlife Service rejected expert advice on the threat to the Mountain Plover population. The groups claim politics are to blame in the denial of protection for the plovers. Read more about the lawsuit.