Posted by: Dan | March 17, 2009

Cyprus Birds in the News

I’m a big fan of GrrlScientist’s long-running weekly Birds in the News series, and occasionally base my decision of what is news and what isn’t in the bird world on her posts. So this week, she links to an article about Cyprus not unlike some items I’ve mentioned in the past about Cyprus:

In a special category entitled People Inexplicably Acting Like Total Jackasses, it has been reported that more than 1.1 million songbirds were illegally slaughtered by trappers in Cyprus in the past year. Cyprus lies on a key migratory route and bird trapping has been commonplace for years. Trappers use either fine mist nets or sticks dipped in sticky lime. “The figure is an unacceptable toll which ever way you look at it,” remarked Martin Hellicar, executive manager for Birdlife Cyprus. Many of the dead birds are served up as expensive delicacies in local restaurants, even though trapping and consumption is strictly banned, the group said. GrrlScientist comment: Because of Cypriots’ horrific behavior, I would never, ever consider visiting Cyprus, nor even setting foot on the airport tarmack in the unlikely event that I was stuck on a plane that made a stop-over in that horrible, cruel little country.

This figure is up from the 776,000 birds estimated killed two months ago. In the Annual General Meeting for BirdLife Cyprus, Hellicar told us members that while this number is down substantially from a decade ago, this is the second year in a row that it rose above previous year’s levels, from the all-time low from two years ago (I’m recalling that trend from memory).

Take note Cypriots: this is what you’re known for internationally, in some circles at least.

But for GrrlScientist and others, I would say that shunning the problem isn’t the solution. Confronting it, as Hellicar (and the many fine members of BirdLife Cyprus) are trying to do, is the only solution that will change the abysmally low enforcement of relevant laws. And bloggers can help by generating publicity over this issue (Thanks GrrlScientist for aiding in that).


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