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Cyprus

 Birds fall victim to ‘far from beautiful’ Easter custom

A dead great tit, a victim of the custom in Omodos

Birdlife Cyprus condemned on Wednesday an Easter custom from Omodos where some residents shoot birds flying over the rooftops.

Cyprus has many beautiful Easter traditions, the group said, but many birds are the victims “of a particular custom in a particular village that is far from ‘beautiful’”.

“The village in question is Omodos, picturesque and popular with visitors from within and beyond Cyprus. But come Tuesday after Easter every year, some residents take to the narrow lanes of the mountain village, shotguns in hand, and shoot birds flying over the rooftops,” it said.

It added that some Omodos residents simply shoot in the air, while many take aim at swallows, house martins, common swifts, great tits and other birds breeding in the village. “None of the birds targeted is a legitimate game species, while the hunting law also prohibits shooting outright, both during the spring and in built-up areas,” it said.

BirdLife Cyprus said that it has tried to contact the village authorities and has raised this issue with the competent authorities, calling for action to stop this illegal bird killing in the name of ‘custom’.

The group called on the community’s local authority, the police and the Game and Fauna Service to take the necessary measures to combat this illegal activity. “Stop the illegal shooting of birds outside the hunting season and during the breeding season, something that is a wildlife crime, and in a residential area, as it puts public safety in danger”.

BirdLife Cyprus is also calling on the public to report any illegal bird shooting and killing incidents to the competent authorities.

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