Police in the British base in Dhekelia on Friday said they have dealt a blow to bird trappers and highlighted their commitment to stamping out poaching by destroying a large number of mist nets and bird imitating devices, all seized from bird trappers over the past year. In addition, more than 60 kilometres of illegal irrigation pipes were used to support the illegal trapping of songbirds have also been removed.
Dhekelia Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Jon Ward said there had been a great deal of success achieved by the police and its partners over the past year, but he warned trappers that this was only the beginning.
“The bases authorities are absolutely committed to combating illegal bird trapping within the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) and it remains a force priority,” he said.
“We also remain committed to working alongside our partners from non-governmental organisations like the RSPB in the UK, Committee Against Bird Slaughter, Bird Life Cyprus and the Game Fund in order to continue with the current success we are having in tackling this problem,” he added.
Ward said police would continue to embrace new technology to win the battle against bird trapping over the next year. Measures will include enhancing drone capability and continuing with the extensive legal use of hidden cameras.
SBA Police Chief Constable Chris Eyre said the high-profile destruction of seized trapping equipment sends out a strong message to the bird trapping community.
“Working alongside our military colleagues we have been able to remove a vast sum of illegal irrigation pipes which are used to water acacia trees that hide the mist nets, and we have been able to destroy plenty of bird imitating devices that lure these defenceless songbirds into the traps,” he said.
“With the support from the UK Government we have been able to dedicate more resources to this problem and we are now seeing the rewards of that commitment and that message is reaching the bird trapping community,” he added.
A dedicated 12-man team of police experts works around-the-clock in the bases to combat bird trapping activity.
Over the past year anti-bird trapping operations have led to a 70 per cent reduction in the illegal killing of migratory birds within the SBAs and a huge drop in the number of bird trappers operating in the area.