We knew this already, but the Cyprus Mail reported on Friday that ‘Bird trappers have no real fear of prosecution’:
“In addition with Blackcaps (Ambelopoulia), numerous species of conservation concern, such as Wryneck, Masked Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher and Redstart were found on the limesticks and in the nets,” CABS said.
“Although Cyprus is considered as a ‘biodiversity hotspot area’ and its bird fauna is particularly rich, almost one third of bird species recorded in the island are affected by illegal trapping with limesticks and mistnets to a greater or lesser extent,” added CABS general secretary, Alexander Heyd. “Furthermore, more than half of the bird species that are affected are in decline to a greater or lesser extent, while many of those are already facing the danger of extinction.”
In contrast with previous camps, no immediate physical violence was this time used against the conservationists and environmentalists. “Nonetheless, it is evident that trappers have no real fear of prosecution,” said CABS.
“The almost blanket distribution of the traps, the failure by the majority of trappers to acknowledge the illegality of their acts, as well as their blatant and violent behaviour, demonstrate that the measures taken to date by the authorities to combat bird poaching are a long way from being effective”, said Klitos Papastylianou, biodiversity and environmental rights campaigner for Friends of the Earth Cyprus.
More can be read on the CABS website: Cyprus spring bird protection camp diary 2011.
Meanwhile, BirdLife Cyprus has completed its Spring monitoring program for collecting data on the extent of the trapping. They’re just starting to crunch the numbers, but I’m told by Campaigns Manager Martin Hellicar that it doesn’t look good.