Cyprus Mail

Game service praised after trapping poachers

BIRDLIFE Cyprus on Thursday congratulated the game and fauna service for catching two men illegally trapping wild birds in the village of Maroni after a stake out.
The anti-poaching squad also confiscated 156 recently dead birds. Members of the game service and the police began staking out the enclosed area on Monday night and caught the two men on Tuesday morning.
“Every year this specific enclosed area is used to trap a large number of wild birds but we found it very difficult to catch the poachers in the act as they always had lookouts to warn them if anyone from our services or the police were there,” Petros Anayiotos of the game services said.
This is why this stake-out was very well organised and planned, he added.
The two men were using calling devices to attract the wild birds during the night. Early in the morning they threw stones at the birds and made loud noises so they would start flying away. “It is at this stage that the birds are caught in the mist nets,” Anayiotos explained.
The police confiscated 13 large nets for trapping wild birds, 23 pipes, seven wooden stakes, three calling devices imitating the chirping of birds, and 156 recently dead wild birds.
Members of the Games and Fauna services also released 75 live wild birds from the nets.
During a search of a nearby property, two nets and four calling devices were found and confiscated.
“The two men were arrested and charged in writing. Now we are waiting for the court date for the outcome. If they are found guilty they could be fined up to €17, 000,” Anayiotos said.
The Game and Fauna services made an announcement Thursday reminding the public that “illegal trapping of wild birds and their exploitation for saleable purposes are some of the biggest threats to these birds and also contribute to the decrease in the population of various bird species, some of which are very rare.”
The consumption of wild birds and game at restaurants are strictly prohibited by the existing law, the announcement said.
Executive director of BirdLife Cyrus, Clairie Papazoglou stressed that the organisation “is calling upon the enforcement agencies to continue their coordinated operations in the field, but more importantly to undertake serious and targeted enforcement against well-known restaurants which will start to illegally serve the trapped birds during this period.
“Illegal bird trapping has become organised, on an industrial scale and [is an] illegal business worth millions of euros, which is often controlled by organise crime,” campaigns manager of BirdLife Cyprus, Martin Hellicar said.
This particular trapping case proves it, with the huge number and size of confiscated mist nets, dispelling any claims from the pro-trapping lobby that this is a traditional, small scale practice, Hellicar added.
Field data collected by BirdLife Cyprus during this autumn shows that illegal bird trapping activity has reached catastrophic levels.

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