Zypern – 28. 09. 2023
Trapping, illegal hunting and violence: another autumn as usual in Cyprus
Despite the high fines established in 2017 for illegal trapping with nets, poachers continue to get away with a fine of just 200 euros for the illegal killing of birds belonging to 14 protected species with guns or with limesticks or other traps. As a result of the low fines and lack of enforcement patrols, the killing of protected birds remains widespread in Famagusta and Larnaka districts, says the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS), the association for the protection of birds, that is now conducting its 25th Bird Protection Camp in Cyprus.
The teams deployed by the eNGO, in close cooperation with the Game and Fauna Service and the Cyprus Police, have reported more than a dozen trappers and illegal hunters targeting protected birds with nets, limesticks, shotguns or electronic decoys.
"The fact that we are on the front line, collecting evidence and catching anyone who commits wildlife crime, makes us a target of aggression from criminal gangs, who do not hesitate to use violence or to send threats to our staff and volunteers" - states Alex Heyd, CABS CEO. "Our teams suffered a serious aggression last Sunday in Aradippou, where a gang of trappers and illegal hunters blocked all access roads to their trapping sites, in order to perform their criminal activity without disturbance, and even threw a rock against our vehicle, smashing our windshield, while we were trying to leave the area. We had no injuries, but the incident could have been much worse. Surely nobody in the Republic would consider roadblocks, vandalism and threats something acceptable - adds Heyd - therefore we do not understand why the re-established Anti-Poaching Unit of the Cyprus Police is not active in the hotspots of the illegal activities and doesn't help in reducing the sense of impunity that these bird killers show every day".
CABS teams will keep protecting birds during their migration towards their southern grounds for the whole autumn.