Animal poisoning is illegal and immoral, the Game Service said on Friday after three Black-winged Kites (Milvus migrans) were found dead from poisoning in a farming area in the Larnaca district.
The three birds of prey were found last week near the village of Maroni. Close by, Game Fund officers found pieces of meat and animal entrails.
Birds of prey die from poison baits placed by farmers and others to kill foxes and wild dogs that attack livestock.
From the first moment, the Game Fund suspected the birds had been poisoned since they did not have external injuries while some of them still had meat on their beaks.
They were taken to the vet services where the cause of death was confirmed to be poisoning. Tissue and specimen from the birds’ stomachs are to be sent to specialised labs to isolate the substance that poisoned them.
The service said poisoning is one of the main reasons for the disappearance of Black-winged Kites as a nesting species in Cyprus and for the decrease in the numbers of vultures.
“Several species of predators such as Bonelli’s eagles, long-legged buzzards (Buteo rufinus), goshawks, are found poisoned each year while placing poison baits also kills other species such as partridges, ducks, rabbits and mouflons,” the Game Service said.
“Poisoning animals and especially predators is an illegal and immoral act with multiple negative consequences to the environment,” it said.
The service urged the public to notify authorities when coming across dead wildlife.
Poison baits along with the reduction of available food due to the reduction of traditional free-range grazing and disturbance during the nesting period have also dealt a severe blow to the Griffon vulture population.