Autumn migration is upon us and it’s exciting! Well, it is indeed exciting if you’re into birds and you’re in Cyprus, but not as much if you’re a small songbird passing through the south-eastern corner of the island to head towards your wintering grounds.
“At long last – but will it last?” If contained enthusiasm was ever put into words, this is what it would probably sound like here at BirdLife Cyprus. We say ‘enthusiasm’ because after years and years of hard work campaigning, lobbying, surveying, educating, we saw bird trapping levels drop to an almost all-time low this past autumn. But we also say ‘contained’ because the beast is nowhere near knocked-out yet.
A paper with title “Illegal killing and taking of birds in Europe outside the Mediterranean: assessing the scope and scale of a complex issue” has just been published in the Bird Conservation International journal.
SHOT AND LEFT FOR DEAD: On a windswept hill in Southern Europe, the remains of a Honey Buzzard flutter in the breeze, its piercing yellow eyes dulling as it takes its final gasp. Sadly this bird is just one of millions that are illegally killed every year as they migrate between Europe, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Africa. The slaughter is indiscriminate - with shooting, trapping and poisoning rife.
Modern technology has become a vital part of enforcement and competent authorities in different countries have started to use it to fight wildlife crime. Such technology could include the use of drones, forensic testing and covert surveillance, just to name a few. The benefits of using such technology are many, including the gathering of evidence against wildlife criminals to use in courts, footage for media use, but also more efficient use of enforcement personnel time.
BirdLife International published last month a scientific review on illegal bird killing across the Mediterranean region, the first ever comprehensive scientific study to quantify the scale and scope of illegal killing across this region. The results of this study are gruesome and despite the legal protection that is in place in the various countries, an estimated 25 million birds are killed illegally every year.
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BirdLife Cyprus is the national partner of BirdLife International, a unique global partnership of conservation organisations working locally to deliver long-term conservation for the benefit of nature and people.