As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 26 September 2018

‘Italian bird smugglers brought species to Malta’

Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 19:45 by Ivan Martin

Maltese link to Carabinieri-led investigation announced by Europol

Carabinieri-led investigations saw two suspects involved in poaching and trafficking of endangered bird species, identified and prosecuted in Italy.
A recently arrested Italian gang of bird smugglers are believed to have been involved in bringing protected species to Malta. 
Maltese police sources told the Times of Malta that the country was a known destination for smuggled bird species, and a recently uncovered racket in Italy was believed to have ties to the island. 
Europol announced on Tuesday that Carabinieri-led investigations had seen two suspects involved in poaching and trafficking of endangered species of birds identified and prosecuted in Italy.
The Italian police said the two were involved in collecting nests and protected birds in the central region of Lazio to later sell them on the illegal market.
Meanwhile, a Maltese police source said that while the group were believed to have mostly supplied birds to continental European countries like Germany, they were also linked to other gangs in southern Italy through a wide-ranging black market network that had supplied birds to Malta.
Europol said the operation had resulted in over 50 protected species of birds being rescued, some of which so young that were still featherless, including hawfinches, jackdaws, goldfinches and serins.
Among them were 15 European roller birds, migratory birds with blue feathers, which are protected under national and international legislation and so cannot be hunted.
Once collected, the birds were sold on the clandestine market at prices from €500 for a roller, €200 to €300 for a kestrel, €150 for a hawfinch and €30 to €80 for a goldfinch.

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