Zypern – 23. 10. 2023
Cypriot Hunters Associations' false claims fuel violence against conservationists.
The international bird protection charity Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has accused the Cypriot hunting lobby of staging a smear campaign of bullying and harassment against law abiding conservationists who continue to expose illegal hunting and bird trapping. During a rally in Paralimni last weekend, President of the Hunting Association of Liopetri, Costas Michael stated that “The hunter has been financially exterminated by exhaustive fines allowed to be imposed.” Yet in the same breath, also went on to denounce poaching.
“A number of false allegations invented by members of the Active Citizens - Movement of United Cypriot Hunters and the Hunting Association of Liopetri have circulated in local media recently that CABS activists are disturbing legal hunting, thus leading to a significant increase in violence against our field teams with several incidents in the last few weeks alone, including 2 car windows smashed. The last episode on Saturday, when our Dutch and English volunteers were punched near Protaras, on Mount Fanos by two poachers that were trapping illegally with 255 limesticks. If the Movement of United Cypriot Hunters will continue with this reckless hate campaign, it’s just a matter of time until things escalate. If this happens, CABS and its lawyers will hold the association and its representatives responsible for all damages which will occur to members”, CABS CEO Alexander Heyd said.
The German-based NGO is thus responding to false allegations made at the event where members of the hunting group claimed that CABS volunteers maliciously tried to stop them from enjoying their legal pastime in Liopetri while, in fact, the area in question is a notorious poaching hotspot full of bird trapping nets, limesticks and illegal bird callers, CABS said.
“Our team found a large illegal bird trapping site with three large nets and freshly trapped birds. On their way to the trapping site, one car of the environmentalists was blocked by a group of aggressive men with more cars, that wanted to impede them the access to the nets. The men were pushing and verbally abusing the environmentalists until the police, called by CABS, defused the situation. In the meantime, the second CABS team that reached the trapping was confronted by a group of aggressive men that tried to collect the nets before the arrival of wardens from the Game and Fauna Service (GFS).”
While the hunting representatives have absolutely no evidence to back up their false claims, it is a verifiable fact that this autumn alone CABS investigations have led to the authorities in Cyprus to a total of 33 confirmed cases of illegal hunting or trapping activity. More than 140 persons have been convicted in the Republic of Cyprus of wildlife crimes in the last 3 years as a direct result of CABS field investigations.
MUCH and their allies claim that they want to ‘protect nature’ but instead of supporting those who fight against poaching they lobby for the declaration of a new law to impede CABS reported confirmed incidents of wildlife crime.
This leads us to the assumption that MUCH & Co true agenda is to create a smokescreen to divert attention from the numerous crimes and offences against nature conducted by its members. “While condemning the intimidation tactics and lies of the MUCH we hereby repeat our offer to work together with all stakeholders, including responsible hunters, for the protection of Cyprus´s natural heritage! Alexander Heyd said.
For more information contact: CABS Investigations Officer Andrea Rutigliano, +39 346 9484460 or Email CABS Press Office via CABS@komitee.de