Sunday, 25 March 2012

2.8m birds slaughtered last year

AROUND 2.8 million birds were killed in 2011, this being the highest number since BirdLife Cyprus began monitoring five years ago, they said yesterday, describing it as an ‘ecological disaster.’
“Though these numbers are an estimate they show that bird trapping activity is getting completely out of control,” said Dr. Clairie Papazoglou, BirdLife’s executive director, adding that the competent authorities must re-double their efforts.
The figure is a result of BirdLife’s annual monitoring of illegal trapping.
According to their winter trapping report for 2011, trapping levels were similar to the previous winter season, with a slight decrease of eight per cent compared to winter 2010.
A total of 616 metres of net were found during the winter of 2011, suggesting that over 400,000 wintering birds could have been caught in mist nets islandwide.
Papazoglou explained that too many people are supporting this ‘indiscriminate slaughter’ by eating ‘ambelopoulia.’
Illegal bird trappers are usually after migratory birds passing through Cyprus in Spring and Autumn or after wintering birds, such as the Song Thrush. However the non-selectivity of limesticks and mist nets used to catch birds by poachers means that they catch a variety of species some of which are rare and protected. 
Papazoglou stressed that bird trapping nowadays is extensive and also run at industrial levels with huge profits to be made from selling the birds to restaurants.
BirdLife also called on authorities to implement the Larnaca Declaration that outlines the key tools to tackle poaching, including strengthening of enforcement, and the development of a public awareness campaign.

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