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Gun sellers want harsher penalties for poachers

Mouflon are a protected species

THE gun sellers’ association has called for legislation with harsher penalties for poachers, saying that registered hunters have nothing to do with illegal actions reported in recent days, including the killings of the protected moufflon.

In an announcement, the gun sellers expressed their concern on the rise of “serious poaching incidents” and referred to Game Service data suggesting there has been an increase in the poaching of moufflon, while the number of the species in Cyprus is dropping.

“There are serious delays in trying poaching cases, while in the last three years the penalties imposed are deemed as hopelessly inadequate,” the announcement said.

In anticipation of a new bill that will regulate penalties for poaching, it said, “we hope that these will be a deterrent”.

“Persons repeatedly convicted for poaching should have their weapon taken away,” it said. “Hunters, as well as all licensed gun owners, have nothing to do with poaching or other illegal activities in general”.

The announcement comes after news of the arrest and remand earlier in the week of two people in Paphos who were suspected of selling moufflon meat.

The two were arrested after a dead, skinned moufflon was discovered in a house in Kannaviou by officers of the Game Service. Officers also found and confiscated skin and skulls from the protected species of wild goats, as well as bones, a scale, knives, cleavers, and meat hangers. They also found a number of cartridges which are usually used for big game hunting and whose possession is prohibited, as well as a shotgun.

The association also urged its members through its Facebook page to refrain from posting on social media close-up photos of their killed game, as “it was lately pointed out to us through meetings with state officials and candidate MPs that […] it bothers the majority of people who are not hunters and brings out an image of brutality”.

This, it said, “creates concerns as regards the way we are being perceived as hunters”.

“What was pointed out to us is that this weakens our efforts to claim equal treatment as a social group on future decisions that affect us,” the group said.

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