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12° Nicosia,
20 May, 2024
 
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Over 400,000 songbirds killed in Cyprus and sold for delicacy

Crime networks ramp up wildlife exploitation in Cyprus

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A recent report reveals a disturbing surge in wildlife crime in Cyprus, where over 400,000 songbirds were trapped and killed last autumn.

As The Guardian reports, organized crime networks employ decoys and speakers playing birdsong to lure birds, including robins and sparrows, which are then caught using nets or branches covered in glue. These birds are sold in a hidden market to be eaten as a local delicacy called "ambelopoulia."

The report, compiled by BirdLife Cyprus with support from RSPB and Committee Against Birds Slaughter (Cabs), highlights a staggering 435,000 birds killed in autumn 2023 alone, marking a significant increase from the previous year.

Martin Hellicar, director of BirdLife Cyprus, warns that despite progress, enforcement resources must be maintained to prevent such crimes. Cyprus serves as a crucial stopover for migratory birds traveling between Europe and Africa, with species like blackcaps and chiffchaffs targeted by trappers.

Although trapping songbirds for consumption was banned in Cyprus in 1974, the practice persists on an industrial scale. While efforts have reduced bird killings over the years, recent findings show a resurgence, especially in the British military base in Cyprus.

Mark Thomas, head of RSPB investigations, stresses the need for police resources to combat illegal trapping effectively. Despite challenges, BirdLife Cyprus remains committed to raising awareness and fostering a cultural shift towards bird conservation.

The alarming rise in bird killings underscores the urgent need for sustained enforcement and public education to protect these vital species.

[With information sourced from The Guardian]

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Cyprus  |  birds  |  crime  |  life  |  animals

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