Zypern – 18. 03. 2021
Bird trappers switch tact and get more organised during the lockdowns in Cyprus
The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS), an NGO specialized in the investigations and preventions of illegal killing of migratory birds, recorded an increase in the number of incidents of illegal bird trapping with limesticks this autumn in south-eastern Cyprus in comparison with previous years. Furthermore, number of incidents of bird trapping with a large number of nets, i.e. professional trapping for profit by criminal gangs is on the rise.
As presented in their recently published report, CABS bird protection activists detected 383 cases of illegal bird killing of migratory birds between September and November 2020 in south-eastern Cyprus, the highest number for CABS autumn operations in Cyprus since 2016. Of 383 cases, 217 involved illegal bird trapping and 166 cases involved illegal hunting of birds.
All cases detected were reported to the authorities and their investigations resulted in the seizure of 1987 limesticks, 50 mist-nets and 121 electronic callers from the locations reported by the activists. 324 protected birds were rescued from traps and 43 persons were caught by the enforcement officers and issued with fixed penalty notices.
CABS investigations officer, Bostjan Debersek believes that as the number of cases of trapping with limesticks in Republic of Cyprus increased most notably this autumn, the low fixed penalties, issued for trapping with limesticks must be among the reasons for the increase. Trappers caught with up to 72 limesticks in Republic of Cyprus will be given a fixed penalty of just 200€ for possession and use of limesticks, while for the same offence in the British Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus an offender would receive a fine of 2000€, ten times the magnitude.
The rising unemployment caused by the complete lockdown in Cyprus in 2020 could have also contributed to the rise in the use of limesticks. The loss of jobs, especially in tourism, has driven many people in search for other sources of income, with trapping being one of them. This is evident also from the rise of professional trapping, recorded this autumn. Professional trappers, have been very busy this autumn as the number of cases of trapping with large number of nets and with use of electronic callers, confirmed by the activists increased in comparison with previous years.
BirdLife Cyprus recorded an overall decrease in trapping levels with mist-nets in Cyprus according to their recently published autumn 2020 survey. However, like CABS, they acknowledge that professional organised trapping with nets in the Republic of Cyprus remains a significant problem, as well as the increase in trapping with limesticks.
Not only bird trapping, also illegal hunting of migratory birds was rampant this autumn in south-eastern Cyprus. 166 cases of illegal hunting activity were confirmed by CABS teams and represent just the tip of the iceberg, stated Bostjan Debersek. Hundreds of electronic callers, used to lure bird in front of the guns could be heard from hundreds of hunting sites, but due to limited resources, only a small percentage of these callers were precisely located and investigated.
On top of intensive use of electronic callers, CABS and BirdLife members discovered several hotspots on which protected birds were shot relentlessly the whole autumn. At the hunting site near Lake Soros in Larnaca District, CABS and BirdLife members discovered remains of several hundred shot bee-eaters and other protected birds. Shocked by discovery, CABS and BirdLife have requested for the permanent closure of the hunting site unless the law can be fully implemented to prevent massacres of protected birds in the future, stated CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld.
Contact for more information: CABS Investigations Officer Andrea Rutigliano, +39 346 9484460 or Email to CABS@komitee.de