The Committee Against Bird Slaughter in Cyprus says organized hunters were misleading the public over an incident last week, saying an activist caught on video and accused of harassing them was in fact waiting for authorities after having called in an illegal activity.
A Facebook post shared by CABS on Wednesday said the group was accusing the Movement of United Cypriot Hunters of “systematically and deliberately spreading misinformation to protect bird poachers and muzzle conservationists.”
The post was referring to an incident last week when hunters shared a video on social media showing a woman hiding and watching them, as well as and pointing out that her behavior was putting her life at risk.
“In case someone would shoot her since she was not wearing hunter insignia in accordance with the law, who would be responsible?” the hunter group asked.
In their video, the hunters also accused the woman of harassing members “during lawful hunting activity and putting her life in danger.”
But CABS told a different story this week, dismissing harassment allegations and saying their “volunteer sat on public ground and in contrast to the hunters acted absolutely legally.”
“We had informed the officers that hunters in the area were using illegal bird calling machines”, CABS spokesperson Bostjan Debersek said.
According to Debersek, a group of hunters approached the woman and started filming her before leaving the area just in time before the arrival of Game and Fauna officials.
A week prior to the incident, a House representative was fined after walking into a no hunting zone during an outing, telling followers later on social media that he did so by accident and not on purpose. In an earlier post, the hunter group in question praised officials for fining the MP.
But the CABS spokesperson went on to accuse the hunter group of failing to take a clear stand against poaching.
“Instead of taking a clear stand against bird poaching the MUCH is actively supporting wildlife crime in their efforts to criminalize CABS members and other witnesses who have reported cases of illegal hunting and trapping to the authorities,” Debersek said.