By Kyriacos Kyriacou-Nicosia
One sad incident succeeds the other, in terms of illegal trapping and poaching in Cyprus, recently. According to «BirdLife Cyprus» observations and information published in the press, there seems to be an “explosion” of illegal bird trapping. Due to the situation rare birds such as the Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina) and a Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) are in danger of extinction.
According to the latest records, more than 2,000 limesticks and 27 mist nets were seized during the latest operation to stop bird poaching. In total 2,256 limesticks, 27 mist nets and 10 electronic decoys were seized after a 23-day operation involving the Cyprus Police Anti-Poaching squad and volunteers from the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) and the Foundation Pro Biodiversity (SPA).
In addition, more than 700 protected wild birds were found dead and collected as evidences, while dozens of birds in captivity were released from traps and aviaries, the two groups said.
15 were procecuted
A total of 15 poachers were caught red-handed and prosecuted by the Anti-Poaching Squad of the Cyprus Police.
The operation – dubbed the Spring Protection Camp – took place between April 6 and 19 and April 28 and May 9, with the participation of 11 volunteers from Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Slovenia.
Following the two organisations’ report the Game Fund seized 117 additional limesticks and one electronic decoy in one trapping site, while a joint operation with the ESBA police seized more than 300 meters of cable, 60 iron poles for mist nets, 25 iron bases for mist nets and one loud speaker in two different trapping sites.
CABS and SPA have urged the Cyprus and SBA authorities “to proceed with the adoption and implementation of the ‘Strategic Action Plan for Combating Illegal Bird Trapping’, as well as to demonstrate a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on the ground, following the recommendations of Larnaca Declaration and the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights”.