Zypern – 30. 01. 2024
Conservationists and police find and dismantle 26 illegal trapping sites while hunters & trappers lament about high fines, urge government to legalise bird poaching and to stop CABS from working on Cyprus
Larnaca. The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has accused hunters and trappers in the Republic of Cyprus of large-scale illegal killing of birds wintering on the island. Despite only having one team deployed CABS have found 26 illegal trapping sites and documented numerous cases of illegal hunting since the 10th of January. Reports to the authorities resulted in the successful identification and prosecution of 18 male Cypriot nationals. The suspects have been caught red-handed by the authorities using illegal means to trap or shoot song thrushes, CABS stated. “Our understanding is that all accused are facing fixed fines for using nets or electronic bird luring devices”, CABS CEO Alexander Heyd said adding that the cases are only the tip of the iceberg. “In the days after the storm in mid-January hundreds of electronic bird callers and shots could be heard everywhere on the island. We assume that in the days around this peak, tens of thousands of birds were illegally killed”. While condemning hunters and trappers for this irresponsible mass slaughter CABS thank the Game and Fauna Service and the SBA police for their support in the operations.
Meanwhile last Saturday, hunters gathered in Aradippou to protest against high fines for the use of illegal electronic bird lures and against CABS anti-poaching operations on the island. During the demonstration, which was organised by the group “Active Citizens -Movement of United Cyprus Hunters”, speakers urged the government to lower the fines for the use of electronic bird callers as well as to legalise spring hunting and bird trapping with nets and limesticks.
"We are noting with astonishment the audacity and implicitness with which this lobby group is trying to blackmail politicians to violate European law and to stop the legal work of NGOs exposing the crimes of their members”, Alexander Heyd stated. He pointed out that the movement is misleading the public and its own members by claiming that bird trapping is legal in other EU states. “The opposite is the case. In France, Italy and Spain bird trapping as well as hunting in spring has been banned nationwide and Malta will soon have to stand trial at the European Court of Justice for attempting to reintroduce trapping with clap-nets”.
CABS also noted concern with the Movements “proposal” for the opening of a spring hunting season for the European Turtle Dove, a species of serious conservation concern in the whole EU. Alexander Heyd: “This irresponsible request once again exposes the selfishness and arrogance of the Movement representatives who are trying to trade the lives of birds against votes in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament. We urge all responsible politicians not to engage in this foul trade and to stand up against the destruction of nature and for European values such as the protection of migratory birds on their migration routes”.
As a consequence of the recent thrush massacres CABS has repeated its calls on the government to boost up its fight against illegal bird killings. According to CABS, the most important measures are to strengthen local enforcement agencies and to increase existing fines so they can serve as an effective deterrent. The NGO also raised the question why the newly reinstated Anti-Poaching Unit of the police cannot be seen to spend any resources to fight against illegal bird trapping, despite this being by far the biggest poaching problem in the country.
--- ENDS ---
Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)
Instagram / X Follow: @CABS_REPORTS