Bird-trapping and bird-hunting in Cyprus
Cyprus is essentially the "problem child" of bird protection in Europe. The Greek south of the Mediterranean island - a member of the EU since 2004 - is a death trap for migratory birds migrating across the eastern Mediterranean, but bird trappers are also active in the Turkish north. In gardens, bushes and acacia groves specially prepared for poaching, countless bird trappers set up nets and thousands of limesticks to catch the migrant songbirds as they rest. Warblers and thrushes are commonly targeted, but cuckoos, owls and many other protected species are indiscriminately caught and killed. The caught songbirds are killed for the cooking pot and also found in restaurants, where they are offered as the expensive delicacy - 'ambelopoulia'.
Bird-trapping has long been banned - the relevant laws have been tightened even further with EU accession - but the poachers boldly ignore the regulations. Some of the perpetrators make little effort to hide their trapping sites because large parts of the rural population have little awareness or concern of the injustice taking place. The authorities and the police are not completely inactive, but there is usually a lack of staff and will to intervene against bird poaching.
The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) has been active in Cyprus since 2001. In 2008, we significantly expanded our bird protection camps and now have a maintained presence on the island throughout the trapping seasons.
Bird trapping in Cyprus
In Cyprus, bird-trapping with limesticks and nets is big business. Poacher gangs earn millions with "Ambelopoulia" - warblers and other songbirds. Countless animals die in the traps and nets.
Bird shooting in Cyprus
As in other Mediterranean-countries, the wild bird shooting is also widespread on Cyprus. Many hunters do not obey the law - they shoot at protected species and use illegal decoys.
Bird poaching in northern Cyprus
Also in the Turkish northern part of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus there are bird trappers. The extent of the bird-trapping with nets and limesticks is only now becoming clear. The committee has recently carried out its first operations in the north.
Bird protection camps
With our bird protection camps we have been working against bird-trapping in Cyprus since 2001. Every year we collect up to 8,000 limesticks and help the authorities to catch and convict the poachers.
Research and Lobbying
Hunters and poachers have a great influence on the government in Nicosia. Only with well-researched facts and targeted lobbying can we succeed in pushing back bird-trapping and poaching.
Successes in Cyprus
The work to improve bird protection in Cyprus is harder than in any other EU country, and bird-trapping is extremely deep-rooted. And yet there have been initial successes: the number of traps and nets is finally decreasing!