Cyprus Mail

British bases remove more acacia to thwart bird trappers

File photo: Acacia trees lined up by bird trappers complete with irrigation system

The British bases said on Wednesday they had removed approximately 100 freshly planted acacia saplings from the Dhekelia firing range on Tuesday morning, three days after they were spotted.

“The operation to remove the illegal plantation of acacia has dealt another blow to illegal bird trappers in the area who intentionally plant the fast-growing acacia to hide their mist nets which snare migrating birds,” they said in a statement.

During the clearance, metal poles used to hold the mist nets in place were also removed from the area.

An investigation into who was responsible for planting so many saplings has now been launched and the SBA Police’s Bird Trapping Community Action Team will continue its nightly operations in order to clamp down on this highly illegal activity, the statement added.

Bases spokesperson Sean Tully, said this was another strong message of intent from the bases, which remains dedicated to removing illegal acacia.

He said: “Acacia is a weed, it cannot be eaten and no products are made from it, it is an invasive species which serves no purpose other than to help illegal bird trapping.

“Ridding the bases of bird trapping and protecting the environment remains a top priority for the administration. There will be no let-up in the removal of acacia from Dhekelia firing range.”

And in a warning to bird trappers, he said: “Bird trapping is illegal in all of Cyprus and the bases will not tolerate this criminal activity taking place.”

Since November 2014 more than 54 acres of acacia has been removed by the bases and plans are in place to remove the remaining 90 acres over the next few years.

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