In mid-September we were informed on the findings of a number of dead wild birds at Bishop’s pool within the Akrotiri Peninsula – Episkopi Cliffs IBA. This was extremely worrying, especially as it is happening in an important and sensitive IBA.
BirdLife Cyprus is working closely with all Relevant Authorities (SBA Administration and the Republic of Cyprus) to deal with the problem swiftly. It seems that the major cause is 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.
Official analysis results are expected soon to inform appropriate management action to be taken. BirdLife Cyprus will be keeping a close eye on the situation.