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Catch-as-catch-can

Operations against bird trappers on Cyprus

CABS volunteers save a golden oriole from a lime stickCABS volunteers save a golden oriole from a lime stickThe Greek-Cypriot south of the new EU member state Cyprus has become a death trap for the birds which migrate across the Eastern Mediterranean. Countless trappers set up their nets, and above all lime sticks, in almond and olive groves, in gardens and in the macchia in order to trap migrant song birds resting on passage. The main victims of the lime sticks are warblers and thrushes; but cuckoos, owls and other protected birds are also caught. The trapped birds are destined for the pot, not infrequently in restaurants, where they are sold at a high price as delicacies.

Bird trapping has long been banned on the island – the relevant legislation was indeed tightened up on accession to the EU in 2004 – but the poachers are unimpressed and continue to break the law. Some offenders scarcely bother to conceal their trapping sites, not least because large sections of the rural population have little awareness of their wrongdoing. The police and other agencies are not idle; but they do not have enough personnel to effectively combat poaching.

Bee-eater stuck in glue. On Cyprus poachers set the sticks around bee-houses to trap these beautiful birdsBee-eater stuck in glue. On Cyprus poachers set the sticks around bee-houses to trap these beautiful birds The Lega Abolizione Caccia (LAC) (League for the Abolition of Hunting) – our most important Italian partner organisation – has been active on Cyprus since 2001. In several operations financed by CABS, the volunteer Italian conservationists have dismantled several thousand lime sticks and dozens of large mist nets. Since spring 2008 CABS has been operating bird protection camps on the island. Thousands of lime-sticks, dozens of nets and tape lures are now collected every years by an international team in cooperation with local authorities. An annual report about the evolution of trapping levels on Cyprus is remitted regularly to the European Commission.

CABS Cyprus Video

The video below shows operations by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter to combat illegal bird trapping on Cyprus during the bird protection camp in April and May 2009.