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PRESS RELEASE Nicosia - Limassol, 14 September 2015

Birdlife Cyprus - Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) - Terra Cypria - Stiftung Pro Artenvielfalt - Friends of the Earth Cyprus

Clear no by European Commission to selective blackcap hunting

The EU sais "No" to a derogation for Blackcap hunting in Cyprus (© Tony Hisgett Wikimedia)The EU sais "No" to a derogation for Blackcap hunting in Cyprus (© Tony Hisgett Wikimedia)BirdLife Cyprus, the Cyprus Conservation Foundation Terra Cypria, Friends of the Earth Cyprus, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) and the Foundation Pro Biodiversity (SPA) are justified, as their strong opposition to the proposal by the Ministry of Interior to allow the hunting of blackcaps, through the Strategic Action Plan which was adopted last May, is proven to be on a correct basis. The justification of the environmental organisations comes through the publication of the negative response of the European Commission to the Republic of Cyprus, sent last August. According to press articles, the European Commission makes clear that the “alternative plan” for the selective hunting of blackcaps cannot proceed, as the criteria set out by the European Birds Directive are not met. Consequently, the blackcap remains a protected species, while hunting blackcaps and trapping with non-selective methods, such as mist nets and limesticks, are not allowed.

The environmental organisations call on the Council of Ministers to immediately withdraw the “alternative plan” and to implement all other elements of the plan that has been adopted. All other elements derive from the Strategic Action Plan, as it was developed with all stakeholders in 2013-14 and which is based on zero tolerance against the illegal trapping, killing and trade of wild birds.

The “alternative plan” which was announced in May 2015, has caused great damage on a communication level, since it has raised false expectations and it has further tarnished Cyprus’ image abroad in regards to combatting the serious and persistent problem of illegal bird killing. As a result, valuable time has been wasted for the implementation of a complete, long-term and effective Strategic Action Plan for Tackling Illegal Bird Killing in Cyprus. At a critical moment, also based on the reply by the European Commission, it is proven that the inclusion of this “alternative plan” was a serious mistake from the government. The illegal bird trapping season has already begun, consequently all stakeholders must work together with dedication, honesty and consistency, towards the prevention and combatting against illegal trapping, killing and trading of birds in accordance with the current decision of the Council of Ministers.

For more information please contact: Natalie Stylianou, Media Officer 22455072 / 99522826