Posted by: Dan | October 6, 2009

Bird Poaching Still a Problem in Cyprus

Charlie beat me to it, but Martin Hellicar sent me also the latest report to the Bureau of the Bern Convention Standing Committee on Illegal trapping, killing and trade of birds in Cyprus. The report is not good (emphasis mine):

The situation on the ground in the Autumn of 2009 looks very bad, first results from the ongoing BirdLife monitoring project show. The Spring 09 migration season seemed to provide some grounds for hope – with a reduction in mist netting activity compared to the spring of 08. But now that the main, Autumn trapping season has arrived, the trappers are back in force, particularly with limesticks.

Levels of limestick use detected in the main trapping areas during the four-week period August 31st to September 25th were almost double (83% increase) those detected in the Autumn of 08. BirdLife also found greatly increased evidence of limestick manufacture in September 09, often on a big scale. In mid-September, following a BirdLife tip-off, a Larnaca area villager was arrested with almost 1,000 limesticks in his garden “workshop”. The day after his arrest, the man was back making limesticks in his garden – indicating a strong market for his illegal produce. This points to a growing tolerance of limestick use, which, though illegal and highly damaging, is still perceived as “traditional” by a large sector of Cyprus society.

Mist netting levels in the first part of the Autumn 09 season were slightly higher than in the Autumns of 08 and 07. It should be noted here that netting levels in the Autumns of 07 and 08 were the highest recorded for five years – representing a serious reverse in the enforcement effort. Mist net use is taking place on a massive scale in the Pyla Range area, within the British Sovereign Base area (SBA). Up to three years ago, trapping had been minimised within the SBAs, but now seems to be making an unwelcome comeback. In the Republic areas, detection of trapping activity (with nets or limesticks) is increasingly hampered by the fact that trappers are now mostly active within enclosures (which BirdLife observers do not enter). This could be leading to an underestimation of trapping levels in some areas.

My own opinion is much more harsh than what is contained in the report. And both the Cyprus and British governments are culpable, it would seem.

So, a rhetorical question: Why does it seem that we need activism to enforce laws?



  1. Thanks for the link Dan, and I may have (just) ‘beaten you to it’ this time but you’ve been ahead of all of us for years now when it comes to reporting what’s happening on Cyprus! Cheers.


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