Cyprus has many beautiful Easter traditions, but the handsome Great Tit pictured here is the victim of a particular custom in a particular village that is far from ‘beautiful’. The village in question is Omodhos, picturesque and popular with visitors from within and beyond Cyprus. But come Tuesday after Easter every year, some residents take to the narrow lanes of the mountain village, shotguns in hand, and shoot birds flying over the rooftops…
Some Omodhos residents simply shoot in the air, and though this in itself carries an evident public safety risk, there is worse, for many take aim at Swallows, House Martins, Common Swifts, Great Tits and other birds breeding in the village. BirdLife Cyprus has tried to contact the village authorities and has raised this issue with the competent authorities, calling for action to stop this illegal bird killing in the name of ‘custom’. None of the birds targeted is a legitimate game species, while the hunting law aslo prohibits shooting outright, both during the spring and in built-up areas.
BirdLife Cyprus calls on the Omodhos village authority, the Police and the Game and Fauna Service to take the necessary measures to combat this illegal activity: stop the illegal shooting of birds outside the hunting season and during the breeding season, something that is a wildlife crime, and in a residential area, as it puts public safety in danger. BirdLife Cyprus is also calling on the public to report any illegal bird shooting and killing incidents to the competent authorities.
For the press release in PDF format please click here.