A team of international bird conservationists from the German-based Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS), who had just dismantled 30 limesticks and freed protected migrant species have been savagely attacked by three local men with stones, fists and boots near Paralimni.
Two Italian activists suffered severe bruising and were treated at the Famagusta General, whilst another Italian, German and British man – as well as an American journalist were also subjected to a beating.
The group said that their cameras and video recording equipment were stolen by the attackers.
CABS general secretary Alex Heyd, also part of the team, gave a vivid description of the incident: “Without warning the men drove up in a pick-up and ran towards us throwing stones. Two of the team were thrown to the ground and mercilessly kicked and punched. Our video camera was grabbed, smashed on the ground, and then battered against the temple of a barely conscious Italian bird guard.”
Police have detained a 37-year-old man from Paralimni who is thought to have driven the three attackers to the area.
The attackers are still at large.
The local police are actively pursuing the investigation of the attack against the conservationists and the data on the hard disc of a shattered video camera will be evaluated by laboratory IT experts.
“The Paralimni police chief has assured me that his officers will follow a policy of zero tolerance against such criminals” reports CABS civil liaison officer David Conlin.
“I am confident that we have established a firm basis for cooperation with the Cyprus police at a local as well as a national level,” he said.
Over the past 5 days members of CABS have discovered 961 limesticks and nine large mist nets in the east of Cyprus.
According to CABS, the scale of illegal trapping, which diminished dramatically before EU accession, appears to have reached new heights.
Cyprus Mail — Bird activists fear for their lives
[Antonis Kakoullis, President of the Cyprus Hunting and Wildlife Preservation Federation] blasted local conservationists for exaggerating the extent of illegal bird trapping and giving the country a bad reputation abroad.
“Whenever we represent our country in Europe we hear all sorts of things there which are not conveyed correctly by Cyprus’ so-called environmentalist groups. These groups have succeeded only in stabbing the country in the back. As for the activists, they should go to Sicily, to France and to England and see how the law is broken there, and not in little Cyprus.”
Okay, so we know now that Kakoullis is a dishonest hack: (1) The local conservationists (BirdLife Cyprus) publish the most conservative and scientific reports available on the topic, (2) Conservationists wouldn’t have to criticize Cyprus for ignoring crime if Cyprus didn’t ignore crime, and (3) Conservationists do in fact have campaigns to enforce laws in Sicily, France and England.
It’s easy Cyprus: If you don’t want to be criticized for ignoring crime, then don’t ignore restaurants encouraging this crime, and give fines and prison time that actually deter criminals from repeating their offenses. For goodness sake, stop complaining about the actions of the people who actually try to do something against crime and do it yourself.
For instance, comments like this aren’t helpful:
The Cyprus authorities have deplored the attack but pointed out that it is not the business of anybody except the police to enforce the law prohibiting the catching of migratory birds.
If the Cyprus police would actually just shut up and do their jobs…