Cyprus Mail

SBA bird trapping raid nets one suspect

By staff reporter

British bases authorities (SBA) arrested a local man for bird trapping during a large scale operation in the Cape Pyla area on Tuesday morning.

SBA said in a statement on Wednesday that police conducted an early morning raid in various locations in the area and found the suspect in possession of two mist nets, three loud speakers used to attract migrating birds, 10 metres of cable, one radio cassette, and six metal poles.

The raid, which is part of the SBA Police’s ongoing Operation Freedom campaign, was headed by Chief Inspector Mustafa Kemal, who feels both the arrest and the seizures sends out a strong message to would-be bird trappers.

“Overall this was a very successful operation and it sends out the message that bird trapping will simply not be tolerated,” Kemal said. “We operate a zero tolerance policy on bird trapping and it remains a force priority for the SBA Police.”

Kemal warned bird trappers that the will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law no matter “who you are.”

SBA police conduct operations throughout the year but have stepped up efforts in August as more migratory birds enter Cyprus.

Since the beginning of last month, excluding Tuesday morning’s operation, five arrests have been made and 31 mist nets have been seized, along with numerous other poaching-related paraphernalia, SBA authorities said.

Conservation organisation BirdLife Cyprus estimates that 2.5 million birds are illegally trapped every year in Cyprus, including threatened and endangered species.

Tiny songbirds, locally known as ambelopoulia, end up served as the tastiest of delicacies. Others are killed and thrown away as collateral damage.

Despite the laws in place, poachers and restaurateurs still get away with serving ambelopoulia.

Restaurants are rarely prosecuted for serving ambelopoulia and there are politicians who are openly sympathetic towards trappers.

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