The game and wildlife service said on Wednesday it had found a large number of poison baits in rural areas of the Nicosia and Paphos districts.
“Unfortunately, and especially lately, the detection and collection of poisons is a very common phenomenon,” the service said in a statement.
It said it was especially prevalent in the Kambos area in Paphos and within the Paphos forest.
“The use of poisoned baits is an illegal non-selective method of killing mammals and birds and is today one of the main causes of death of birds and hedgehogs, which are usually not the targets of poisons,” the service said.
“Unfortunately, this illegal method is still used today by some who target foxes and stray dogs with the aim of reducing either damage to livestock or crops,” it added.
According to the Service, poisoning is one of the main causes of a dramatic reduction and almost extinction of vultures causing the death of seven in the period 2015-2016, and one of the causes of extinction of other nesting species.
Poison baits also kill hunting dogs, partridges, ducks, rabbits, and wild goats, it said.
The service said this year it was participating in a specialised European co-funded LIFE program aiming at the protection of vultures, and poison reduction through which it will provide specially trained dogs to sniff out poisoned bait in the countryside, “an action that will have as its objectives both the protection of the fauna and the natural environment and hunting dogs, which are often innocent victims of this unacceptable act”.
“Poisoning is an illegal and immoral act that has multiple negative effects on the environment and, as a result, on human health,” the service concluded.