Snared: catching poachers to save Italy’s songbirds

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With five million birds a year illegally caught in Italy, activists in Brescia are teaming up with local police to trap the hunters

After two hours of scouring the mountains of Brescia, Stefania Travaglia finally finds what she is looking for. Among the remote farmhouses of an alpine hamlet, a spring-net trap is partially hidden behind a grassy embankment and a few trees. Tangled in the wire mesh, an exhausted fieldfare thrush sits silent and unmoving.

Travaglia sets to work quickly and quietly, hiding two motion-sensor cameras next to the trap. Clear evidence of wrongdoing is needed to catch a poacher. “You have to see everything: you have to see the trap; you have to see the person; and if there is a bird in it,” she says.

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