Hunting in Cyprus is a pastime, which is legally permitted by the relevant legislation which oversees the protection and management of wild birds, i.e. the EU Birds Directive (2009/147/EC) and the Cyprus legislation transposing it (152(Ι)/2003). In Cyprus, hunting is widespread with around 40,000 registered hunters, which means there is an enormous amount of hunting pressure on bird populations, resident and migrant alike. Not only this, birdwatchers and nature lovers regularly come in contact with hunters in the countryside, which is disheartening for those who love birds.
Our position on hunting
BirdLife Cyprus as well as BirdLife International are not opposed to hunting provided it is sustainable. This means that it ensures there are no long-term problems regarding the conservation and maintenance of healthy populations of species, including game species and that it is carried out according to the hunting requirements set out by the Game and Fauna Service. Clearly we do not always agree with the hunting management decisions taken by the Game and Fauna Service. A good example of this is the hunting of Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) whose population has dropped dramatically throughout Europe by 80% in the last 30 years, however, it is still being hunted in Cyprus from the end of August until the end of October, without a quota. We have been lobbying hard at a European level to implement a temporary hunting moratorium for this particular species, together with the other BirdLife partners.
Where and when is it legal to hunt?
Generally, hunting of migratory birds is permitted from mid-August until end-October and hunting of resident game species from November until December, while hunting of Song Thrushes is permitted until end of February. Usually, hunting is permitted on Sundays and Wednesdays, however there are some areas where it is permitted daily, usually along coastal areas. Hunting is prohibited in certain areas, which can be either permanent or temporary game reserves. Spring hunting is prohibited by the EU Birds Directive (2009/147/EC) and the Cyprus legislation (152(Ι)/2003), as it poses a threat to breeding birds and migratory birds as they travel to their breeding grounds.