The BirdLife Cyprus report on bird trapping levels for autumn 2022 paints a promising picture, with bird trapping with nets almost halved (49%) compared to autumn 2021 (and have decreased by 91% since 2002).
This encouraging decrease is recorded both within the British Bases in Dhekelia and in the Republic and is due to the ongoing collaboration between environmental organisations (namely BirdLife Cyprus, the RSPB and CABS) and the competent authorities to tackle this illegal activity. The imposing of high fines – starting from 2000 euros – for the trapping of birds with the use of nets has also helped.
While the reduction is promising, this nevertheless continues to amount to thousands of birds illegally trapped and killed every year. More specifically, in autumn 2022 alone it is estimated that 345,000 birds could have been trapped and killed within the survey areas covered by BirdLife Cyprus’ monitoring programme.
The problem persists in certain areas within the Republic, where large-scale organized trappers continue unhindered in the absence of the effective action of the Cyprus Police Anti-Poaching Unit, which was inexcusably disbanded in November 2019. Moreover, the relaxation in fines from €2000 to €200 for the killing of up to 50 birds using limesticks, making penalties neither punitive nor deterrent, has indirectly decriminalized this trapping method and has resulted in an increase in limestick use the last few years.
BirdLife Cyprus calls on the new President, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, to:
- See his pre-election commitment through and reinstate the Cyprus Police Anti-Poaching unit, in order to more effectively deal with large-scale organised trappers as well as violence/threats from trappers.
- Annul the law relaxation and increase the fines to €2000 for all birds, regardless of killing method or bird species.
Only then will Cyprus be able to deliver the final blow to the scourge of illegal bird trapping.
More information on BirdLife Cyprus’ monitoring programme and the 2022 trapping report can be found here.