Police seize hundreds of protected birds' skins

Subject: Police seize hundreds of protected birds' skins
From: "david camilleri" <>
Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2002 10:16:15 -0400
Friday, August 23, 2002

< Police seize hundreds of protected birds' skins >
by Herman Grech

Prompt action by Customs officials and police yesterday morning led to the
arrest of three men in connection with the smuggling of hundreds of skins of
protected bird species worth more than Lm15,000, police said.

Police sources said two men, a 45-year old from Zabbar and an 18-year old from
Kirkop, were found to be carrying over 300 birds after they had landed on a
flight from Egypt at 5 a.m.

Customs officials suspected something irregular in the luggage being carried by
one of the men which on inspection yielded several protected birds.

Two other pieces of luggage which remained unclaimed were also found packed with
protected birds.

The men did not offer any resistance.

Though Egypt is renowned as one of the most popular destinations for Maltese
hunters, the birds in question are protected in both countries.

Following further investigations connected with the same case, the police
arrested another man in raids at other residences. Various other protected
species of bird, as well as shotguns and several kilogrammes of thick lead shot
were seized.

In a separate operation yesterday, members of the Administrative Law Enforcement
apprehended three people that were out hunting at sea in the Bahar ic-Caghaq

The hunters' shotguns were confiscated.

The police said the ALE would continue investigating both cases.

Yesterday's was the second major haul carried out by Customs officials and
police in the space of four days.

On Monday, a 26-year-old man from Fgura was arrested after he was found to be in
possession of a number of protected animal skins, an airgun, and ammunition.

The police also found 20 species of stuffed birds after searching the man's

Birdlife president Joseph Mangion said that yesterday's haul was evidence of the
extent of the bird smuggling problem.

"Illegal wildlife trade is one of the top illicit trades. People are willing to
take any risk to carry it out," he said.

While thanking the ALE and Customs officials for their work, Mr Mangion said
such cases demonstrated the need for an investigative team to deal with these

"I am quite sure that there are huge consignments of birds smuggled from Egypt -
and a number of them are not detected," he claimed.

This article may also be viewed at

Government accused of giving in to hunters
Michael Carabott

August 23, 2002 9:00:00 AM CET

Government efforts to negotiate a favourable European Union deal for Maltese
hunters have been slammed as "outrageous".

Click on the link to read the full article

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