Frequently Asked Questions

Trapping with mist nets and limesticks is illegal both at national and European level due to the non‐selective nature of these methods, i.e. it is not possible to select which bird species gets caught. Trappers use these methods in order to harvest as many birds as possible without having any control as to what is being caught. As a result, illegal bird trapping affects 155 different bird species, 82 of which are listed as conservation priority species under the EU Birds Directive and / or BirdLife International
Each year hundreds of thousands of birds are killed in Cyprus as a result of this illegal activity, with the worst year recorded to date being 2014 when it was estimated that up to 2.5 million birds were killed. This is an ecological catastrophe and an environmental crime. If you would like more information on the estimates of birds killed, please see our trapping reports here.
One could claim that trapping was a tradition in Cyprus when it was carried out to put a food supplement on the table, at a time when people were poor and meat was scarce in their diet. Nowadays trapping is done for economic profit reasons and illegal trapping today is a lucrative illegal business as a dozen of birds sell for between 60 - 80 euro. How can a traditional practice be based on large scale exploitation and slaughter of birds with a view to financial gain? Spain has already been convicted by the European Court of Justice, in case ‘C‐79/03 Commission of the European Communities vs Kingdom of Spain’ for permitting the use of limesticks as a traditional practice for the trapping of song thrush species in the Valencia region. It should also be made clear that the EU court decisions are valid across all the EU Member States, hence the use of limesticks in Cyprus cannot be justified as traditional method of hunting since it has been already been dismissed in the above court case against Spain. Furthermore, on 8 December 2016 the European Commission announced that it is taking France to the EU Court of Justice for failing to address continued violations of the legislation on the conservation of wild birds, specifically for the continued illegal trapping of Ortolan buntings (Emberiza hortulana).
We believe that not visiting Cyprus because of illegal bird trapping will not change the situation nor will it discourage trappers from continuing this illegal practice. On the contrary, we believe that by coming to Cyprus and by raising one’s concern with the locals, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, the Cyprus Embassy in your country, the authorities and other government bodies, one can contribute towards our efforts in combatting illegal bird trapping by raising awareness and putting pressure on authorities. It is important for the locals to realize the importance of preserving Cyprus’ nature and wildlife. We believe that when people visit Cyprus, especially for its nature and its birdlife, they contribute towards cultivating a deeper appreciation of Cyprus’ nature and what it has to offer to both locals and tourists.
  • You can inform your friends and relatives of the true extent of the problem and encourage them to act responsibly.
  • Highlight to the members of the Cypriot parliament via a letter that you are concerned about the specific problem and that it creates a bad image of Cyprus.
  • Ask the members of the Cypriot parliament and other politicians to inform you of what action they are taking for the implementation of the Strategic Action Plan for the elimination of illegal trapping, which was elaborated in 2013 with the participation of all relevant stakeholders.
  • Report any incidents of illegal bird trapping to the competent authorities
  • Subscribe to the monthly electronic newsletter of BirdLife Cyprus and/or become a member of the organisation in order to receive more information on this subject. By doing so you strengthen our voice and support our actions against illegal bird trapping.
It is possible that while out and about you may find set mist nets or limesticks, many of which may even contain trapped birds, condemned to suffer a slow and painful death.

It is important that you do not destroy the mist nets or the limesticks for the following two reasons:

Firstly, you are destroying evidence that could help at a later stage in investigations and may lead to the arrest of the trapper. Secondly, you might put yourself in danger should the trapper be aware of your actions and become aggressive.

The relevant authorities to get in touch with are the Game and Fauna Service, the Cyprus Police and the Sovereign Base Authorities Police. By leaving the trapping paraphernalia untouched you help them with their work prosecuting and arresting the trappers. Or you can report to us and we will report to the competent authorities safeguarding your anonymity. For more information please click here.
If you have witnessed any violations of the hunting law then please report these to the relevant authorities at once.

Hunting regulations and numbers of relevant authorities can be found here.

Please also let BirdLife Cyprus know, so we can keep track of the problem and increase our pressure for effective enforcement action. A standard form for reporting poaching incidents to BirdLife Cyprus can be found here. You can send completed forms to us by post (BirdLife Cyprus, P.O. Box 12026, Nicosia 2340), email or fax +357 22 455 073.

The information we receive in the reports from the public are sent to the enforcement authorities, ensuring the anonymity of the person who reported the incident.

You can also report to BirdLife Cyprus and the competent authorities if you become aware of restaurants illegally serving game species as well as illegally killed birds.

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P.O. Box 12026
2340, Nicosia Cyprus


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