After repeated postponements, the highly controversial law amendment ‘The Protection and Management of Wild Birds and Game Species (Amendment) Law of 2016′ has unfortunately been voted through. This amendment proposal introduces a series of relaxations and loopholes relating to hunting but also illegal bird trapping, a serious and persistent problem in Cyprus.
BirdLife Cyprus, the Cyprus Conservation Foundation Terra Cypria, Friend of the Earth Cyprus, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) and Foundation Pro Biodiversity (SPA) repeatedly called on the Members of Parliament to vote against this amendment, but the bill passed with a shocking 36 votes for and only 4 against (Costis Efstathiou, Pavlos Mylonas, Anna Theologou, Charalambos Theopemptou).
This amendment law was proposed by the Game & Fauna Service and modified by members of the Environment Committee of the Cyprus Parliament. These approved amendments are expected to be counterproductive for the sustainable management of game and the conservation wild birds and completely ineffective with regards to better combatting of poaching and illegal bird trapping.
The amendment law introduces, among others, on-the-spot fines for all offenses, a separate (and looser) regulation for the use of limesticks as an illegal means and allowing the consumption of game by hunters in restaurants, something that will be practically impossible to effectively control (if it is a game species or not, what the hunting method was and if it was legal etc.). These are the three points that the environmental organisations strongly opposed from the beginning and that have unfortunately passed with the amendment law. Prior to commenting on the hunting law amendment in its entirety, BirdLife Cyprus will study the final bill, as some further amendments brought to the Plenary by the political parties were voted through by the MPs.
BirdLife Cyprus will continue its campaign against illegal bird killing, which consists of its systematic surveillance programme, advocacy and education and awareness actions and activities.