As Summer reaches its peak, I received a copy of BirdLife Cyprus’ Spring 2010 Trapping Report from Martin Hellicar. The summary points:
- Survey data showed an increase (32,8%) of illegal bird trapping activity during spring of 2010 compared to spring 2009 but slightly lower trapping levels than for spring 2008.
- Field data shows an increase of illegal bird trapping activity in all three jurisdictions, and especially in the “Joint” area where the SBA and the Republic jurisdictions meet (trapping levels have tripled compared to spring 2009 levels). The SBA trapping figures have also gone up despite the major effort undertaken to remove trapping paraphernalia (the notorious trapping ‘hot-spot’ of Cape Pyla was the main focus of these operations).
- The one bit of truly encouraging news to come out of the spring 2010 season was the very significant (70% drop compared to spring of 2009) reduction in mist netting levels achieved in the Cape Pyla area as a result of repeated sweeps to remove trapping paraphernalia by the SBA police, with support from the British Army.
- However, if the negative overall pattern is carried through into the main, autumn trapping season then anyone can image what the “migrants” will have to face arriving from their long journey.
- An estimated 261,000 birds were trapped during spring 2010, a shocking toll for a season that is not one of the main trapping seasons.
- Increased involvement from all enforcement bodies (Game Fund, Cyprus Police, and Bases Police) in the anti-trapping effort must be encouraged in order to work closely and effectively together in the anti-trapping effort.
- The absence of a determined campaign to stop restaurants serving trapped bird delicacies remains a serious concern that has yet to be tackled.
I emphasized that last one because the demand for ambelopoulia obviously fuels the poaching. But another theme here is that it’s not just the Cypriot authorities that need to step it up. The British authorities are responsible for stamping out illegal trapping on Sovereign British Authority land, where we hear the worst of the trapping occurs.