Crime against wild birds in Cyprus remains out of control, the Committee against Bird Slaughter (CABS) reported on Thursday.
It said that in a period of 30 months, between July 2017 – when stricter legislation came into force aiming to crack down on poaching – and December 2019, its volunteers reported 80 cases of illegal hunting and as many as 376 cases of illegal trapping.
The announcement was issued in response to a different set of data recently submitted to Parliament by Justice Minister George Savvides, which it said " gives the impression that illegal trapping and hunting has drastically decreased and that there was therefore no requirement to retain the Anti-Poaching Squad of the Cyprus police.”
The submitted data, CABS stressed, “is a poor manoeuvre to throw dust into the eyes of law-abiding citizens and cover the complete failure from the authorities to effectively tackle these phenomena.”
The anti-poaching organization stated that the introduction of higher fines for poachers was a front “to give an appearance of efficiency”, when in fact the criminal act of poaching has “very strong allies in central government".
Referring to the figures issued by CABS, its General Director Alexander Heyd said that “the majority of cases were reported to the Game and Fauna Service, but it was a forced choice, considering that the Anti-Poaching Squad was rarely on duty and its performances were very poor after the unit was progressively and systematically undermined."
Of the total cases of illegal bird trapping and hunting reported to the authorities by CABS, it said that only one is six would result in prosecution, “a very low rate, compared with the results achieved by other enforcement agencies abroad.”
Determined to see justice delivered, CABS said it will be submitting its data to the European Commission, “to prove once again the non-compliance of the Republic of Cyprus with the minimum standards required by the EU Birds Directives”.