Zypern – 10. 01. 2022
Bird protection volunteers’ car severely damaged by illegal pyrotechnic device in Cyprus – CABS
CABS urges government to take clear stand against poaching and violence.
Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)
+++ PRESS RELEASE – 10 January 2022 +++
PR - Explosion in Plya residential area – Bird protection volunteers’ car severely damaged by illegal pyrotechnic device – CABS urges government to take clear stand against poaching and violence.
Yesterday evening a patrol car used by volunteers of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) was severely damaged after persons unknown placed an explosive device on the Toyota vehicle which was parked in a residential area in Pyla. “At around 5.45pm we heard a loud bang and saw a lot of smoke. It was our car, which was parked close to our apartment. Many people from the complex came to see what happened and a large crowd gathered”, CABS investigations Officer Bostjan Debersek recalls. Officers from the bomb squad and police investigators were sent to seal off and sweep the scene. “The police have informed us that the explosion was probably caused by a large, illegal pyrotechnical device placed on the windscreen”, Debersek said, adding that a witness who is in contact with the police saw a person running towards the complex, heard the explosion and saw a car leaving with lights off immediately after.
Yesterdays incident is the latest in a series of violent attacks and death-threats against conservationists who are working to document illegal bird poaching and speak out against the destruction of wildlife by criminal gangs in Cyprus. On Christmas eve an aggressive poacher known to the authorities ‘man-handled’ and threatened a police officer who accompanied CABS volunteers to an illegal trapping site in Zygi. The trapping site was equipped with 6 huge nets and a tape lure. Six song thrushes and a barn owl were caught in the net, with 23 more dead in a bucket, freshly killed by the trapper. In November, three masked trappers jumped on a CABS member and severely beat him nearly unconscious leaving him with blood pouring from his head. Two of the attackers were later identified by the police and will face charges.
CABS president Heinz Schwarze said that the illegal trade with poached songbirds is a “million Euro business” which is being protected by those who profit from it. He added that last year alone members of CABS documented and reported over 250 cases of illegal trapping and hunting to the Cypriot authorities. He criticised that while those who are responsible for these eco-crimes could walk around with impunity, CABS volunteers and Game Wardens are continuously being targeted, their property vandalised and constantly receiving death threats and abuse. He accused the government of lacking the political will to invest resources into proper wildlife law enforcement rather than appeasing the "aggressive poaching lobby". He also urged the authorities to stop sitting on the fence and take a clear stand against illegal bird poaching and protect activists who document and report environmental crimes. “It is clear that the specialised police Anti-Poaching Unit which was dissolved in 2019 urgently needs to be reinstated to tackle the spiralling problem of illegal poaching of protected species. The people involved in these crimes are hardened criminals which have to be dealt with the full force of the law and not by administrative officers such as the Game Wardens”. Schwarze also announced that despite the recent attack, CABS has decided to continue recent operations in Cyprus until at least the end of the month. “We will not fall victim to scare tactics of criminals nor will we cease shining a light on the continuous deterioration of wildlife law enforcement here in Cyprus”, Schwarze stated.
— ENDS —
Contact for more information: CABS Investigations Officer Andrea Rutigliano, +39 346 9484460 or CABS Press Office Tel: +49 (0) 228 / 665521 Email to CABS@komitee.de