Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e.V. Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e. V.
Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

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Griechenland – 24. 04. 2024

Conservationists car destroyed by hunters in Zakynthos.

long term campaign launched against illegal bird hunting; first poachers convicted by police.

Conservationists car destroyed by hunters in Zakynthos - long term campaign launched against illegal bird hunting; first poachers convicted by police.

During the early hours of 24th of April a tourist car was attacked and vandalised by hunters in a village close to Gerakari, in the island of Zakynthos. The car was being used by international volunteers from the migratory bird protection NGO – Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) who have launched a campaign to prevent illegal spring hunting of protected species of conservation concern. At around 02:30am loud smashes were heard before a moped sped off. Upon closer inspection of the car, all windows, headlights and rear-view mirrors had been shattered. While no one was injured during the incident, the damage sustained to the sum of 3000€ has left the vehicle unusable.

“Although the hunting of migratory birds is strictly forbidden during spring, it remains a widespread phenomenon which has been going unpunished on this island for decades, CABS Campaigns and Operations Officer Lloyd Scott said, adding that for the second year in a row the volunteers have observed widespread illegalities and threats in Zakynthos.”

CABS added “Within just a few days, our anti-poaching teams have reported dozens of hunters to the authorities for illegal hunting during the closed season and four have been arrested. However, there are hundreds of men out in the countryside recklessly killing thousands of protected birds including swifts, swallows, golden orioles, cuckoo’s and birds of prey and critically endangered turtle doves. They behave with impunity like they are above the law” says Scott – “They are often in organised groups, making illegal hunting parties in the ‘hotspot’ areas of Vasilikos and Keri and they regularly show abusive and aggressive behaviours towards people including tourists who simply want to protect the natural heritage and for the law to be respected”.

CABS praised the authorities for their quick response but at the same time criticised the Greek Government for not providing the police with enough resources to cope with the problem. “We are proposing a zero-tolerance policy which includes strict, proactive supervision and hefty fines for those who are being convicted of illegal hunting”, Scott explained adding that strict enforcement has proven to be the key to save birds in other Mediterranean poaching hotspots such as Cyprus, Malta and Italy where joint operations of CABS and law enforcement agencies have led to the arrest of more than 120 bird poachers last year alone.

CABS also said that its teams on Zakynthos have been verbally abused and harassed by hunters on numerous occasions while trying to document illegalities in the field. In an incident last week in Keri, several hunters blocked the teams’ vehicles for more than 30 minutes. A few days later, a group of more than 30 aggressive hunters gathered outside the station of the forest police in Zakynthos while CABS staff were talking to the officers inside. “The situation was very tense but finally our people were able to leave the station unharmed”, Scott reported. “Intimidation and harassment will not deter us from doing what is necessary to protect our birds on migration. We hereby invite all responsible hunters, nature lovers to work together with us to combat this form of environmental crime which has nothing to do with ‘tradition’ or sustainable use of natural resources”.

CABS added that turtle doves, the main target of hunters on Zakynthos are rapidly declining in their breeding grounds, where a lot of money and efforts are being invested to protect and conserve the last remaining pairs.” According to CABS, illegal bird hunting is also negatively affecting tourism with more and more visitors complaining about the situation.

The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) is international NGO specialised in protecting migratory birds on their migration routes. Founded in Germany in 1975, the organisation conducts regular anti-poaching operations against the illegal killing of birds in Italy, Spain, Malta, Cyprus and Lebanon. More information about CABS’ work can be found on the CABS webpage: www.komitee.de/en

Attached images:

1. Rear window of smashed up CABS rental car in Zakynthos, Greece. 

For more information contact: +357 99823997 or E-mail CABS Press Office via CABS@komitee.de