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Authorities, poaching, songbirds, Cyprus
© Ayacop

Authorities failing to prevent bird poaching in Cyprus

16/03/17Environment

British authorities in Cyprus have been criticised for failing to effectively prevent the poaching of songbirds on a military base.

According to a new report some 1.7 million birds were illegally killed across the Republic of Cyprus in 2016.

More than 800,000 were killed on the British military territory that covers around 100 square kilometres.

The UK authorities in Cyprus said that their efforts had helped to reduce what had been a rising trend.

The study was carried out by the RSPB and Birdlife Cyprus, during the autumn migration season between September and October in 2016.

The songbirds are sold on the black market to be pickled, roasted or fried and eaten in secret as a local delicacy.

The poachers have found that the most efficient way of trapping birds is to use a ‘mist net’ strung between acacia bushes.

One net can trap up to 400 birds.

The report has criticised the British military authorities for not pressing ahead with plans to clear acacia bushes from the territory.

Martin Harper, RSPB conservation director said: “This report sadly highlights that the British base is the number one bird killing hotspot on the whole island of Cyprus. Many much loved garden bird species are being trapped and killed for huge profit by criminal gangs. The trappers’ brazen prevention of the removal of their criminal infrastructure from MoD land could never be tolerated here in the UK.”

According to a spokesman for the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs): “The UK is committed to tackling illegal bird crime and is pleased that the RSPB has recognised a significant increase in enforcement activity that has led to a record number of arrests, equipment seizures, prosecutions and fines.

“For the second year running we have halted the rising trend in numbers of birds killed.”