Officials and activists team up once again to combat illegal bird trapping in Cyprus, with a recent arrest of a male suspect sending a message against complacency.
British Bases police (SBA) in Dhekelia arrested a male suspect last weekend on charges related to illegal bird trapping, including the use of mistnets and bird imitating devices.
Police said the man was arrested by a Community Action Team when officers discovered a net clipped on metal stands, an MP3 music player, a loud speaker, a USB stick, and a radio receiver.
Illegal poachers lure birds into their nets by playing recorded bird sounds on loudspeakers
The items, which were confiscated, are used by illegal poachers to lure birds into their nets with the use of recorded bird sounds played back on loudspeakers.
The suspect was questioned by police and later released on a €1000 bail, while Knews understands no date has been set for his arraignment.
Deputy police chief Andreas Pitsillides said the arrest signified that authorities are present even at the very start of the illegal trapping season, which began in late August according to the official.
Pitsillides said police were already cooperating with partners, including the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS), BirdLife Cyprus, and the Hunting and Wildlife Department.
BirdLife Cyprus, a non-profit NGO, works for the conservation of biodiversity on the island, while CABS is a rapid reaction team and lobby that works with local authorities in a number of countries.
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 the perpetrators.