Following the death of wild birds at Bishop’s Pool in Akrotiri back in September, BirdLife Cyprus recently met with the competent authorities of the British Bases and the Republic of Cyprus to examine the issue and find solutions.
Immediate solutions were examined such as the input of additional water into the lake and/or oxygenation of the lake in order to avoid such phenomena from taking place in the future. In the long term, it was agreed that an expert study for the hydrological management of the pool should be carried out, to avoid such incidents in the future, and to ensure the protection of the wild birds that depend on this important and sensitive site.
It seems that the major cause for the death of wild birds was botulism, a toxic and paralysing poisoning caused by the growth of a harmful bacterium in the water which the birds ingest. Botulism is related to low oxygen levels in the water and eutrophication. The eutrophication is likely linked to changes in the quantity/quality of water being put into the pool. Algal blooms and consequent oxygen reduction in water, especially in warmer weather, often lead to botulism outbreaks.
Following the meeting, it was good to see that additional water is being put into the lake, giving it literally a much needed breath of life. BirdLife Cyprus will now focus on the long-term measures and will closely follow the issue, always in collaboration with the competent authorities.