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Cyprus

Police charge elderly man with bird trapping

A bird caught on a limestick

Limassol police, in cooperation with the Game service, on Thursday arrested a 73-year-old man found in possession of bird trapping equipment and wild birds.

During a search of his house, officers found 276 limesticks and 28 wire traps used for catching the creatures, as well as 30 birds.

The man was lead to Moni police station where he was charged and released to appear in court at a later date.

Songbirds, locally known as ambelopoulia, end up served as the tastiest of delicacies.

Other birds caught during the process are killed and thrown away as collateral damage.

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

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

Cypriots and many visitors to the island love the delicacy despite its illegality. This has resulted in a very profitable industry developing around their trapping.

Ambelopoulia poaching has been on the rise in recent years, involving a mafia-like operation that includes trappers, dealers and restauranteurs. The birds sell for around five euros each with the authorities estimating them to have earned criminals in the region of €15 million euro in 2015.

 

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