A video showing the rescue of illegally trapped songbirds in Cyprus has been posted on Facebook by a group of activists, in an effort to raise awareness amongst the general public.
CABS in Cyprus, a local branch of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter, posted a video on Friday showing activists ungluing and removing birds that were stuck on limesticks and freeing those that survived.
According to CABS, an active illegal trapping site with over a dozen limesticks was discovered in Cape Greco National Forest Park in Ayia Napa. Several birds were found stuck to the sticks with CABS members carefully cleaning up and releasing those that could be saved.
The team also found 16 limesticks in a bundle nearby that were freshly prepared, seizing all of them along with an electronic calling device which lures the bird into the traps.
“Check out this short video clip to see what it's like on the ground,” CABS wrote on Facebook.
CABS active north and south
Last week, CABS activists posted another video of an encounter in the north, where an illegal poacher was caught red-handed in Agios Theodoros/Cayirova.
The video shows activists from the local Society for the Protection of Birds and Nature (KUSKOR) ambushing the illegal trapper who fled the scene by car, while an updated post later said Turkish Cypriot police apprehended the suspect.
“While we celebrate this good result, we can’t help but wonder – when will the Cypriot republic police (in the south) also accept such video and photo evidence to make successful prosecutions of bird poachers?” CABS wrote on Facebook.
Bird trapping is illegal on the island but it went unnoticed until the Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, pitting officials against local poachers who had been breaking the law for generations.
Recent efforts and public campaigns against illegal bird trapping have made a dent into the illegal and very lucrative enterprise, but local customs and traditions also make it difficult to root out perpetrators who serve illegal "ambelopoulia" delicacies to a wide clientele behind closed doors.
A number of incidents involving confrontations were caught on camera and posted on social media over the years, showing the dangers that activists often face on the front lines.