BY GOZO NEWS · JULY 25, 2014
Officials of the Wild Birds Regulation Unit, Customs and the Police Administrative Law Enforcement Unit, in a joint operation carried out on the 23rd and 24th of July, foiled a significant wildlife smuggling attempt involving over 400 bird skins.
The WBRU also said that in a separate and unrelated incident, two Gozitan residents were found guilty by the Court in Gozo for being in possession of a number of protected bird species.
The attempt to smuggle the bird skins was foiled when on Wednesday, a passenger who had just arrived on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt caught the attention of Customs at MIA as “he was behaving suspiciously.” The WBRU said that an inspection of the person’s luggage revealed that they contained bird skins. The person had just returned from a hunting trip in Argentina.
Following investigations into the contents of the seized luggage it was established that the bags contained 411 bird skins, the importation of which is restricted.
The consignment was made up of several species including grebes, swans, ducks, eagles, hawks, falcons, storks, flamingos, ibises, crakes, gulls, owls and passerines, the majority of which are protected in their country of origin. In addition, about 120 of the specimens are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).