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CABS says bird poaching still rampant in Cyprus

The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) reported on Thursday that there had been 456 cases of wildlife crime uncovered by their volunteers in the last 30 months, claiming that crimes against wild birds in Cyprus remains out of control.

The organisation said the recent data submitted to parliament by the Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides “gives the impression that illegal trapping and hunting has drastically decreased and that there was therefore no requirement to retain the anti-poaching squad of the Cyprus police.”

CABS called the actions by Savvides “a poor manoeuvre to throw dust into the eyes of the public and cover the complete failure from the authorities to effectively tackle these phenomena.”

Between July 2017, when a stricter anti-poaching law was implemented, and December 2019, CABS reported 80 cases of illegal bird hunting and as many as 376 cases of bird illegal trapping.

“The majority of cases were reported to the Game and Fauna Service, but it was a forced choice, considering that the anti-poaching unit was systematically undermined,” said CABS General Director Alexander Heyd.

The anti-poaching unit was permanently shut down in November 2019.

CABS believe it is not a coincidence that, after new higher fines were introduced, the only unit which had performed the most important and significant prosecutions was crippled and subsequently dismantled.

“We believe this was the plan. To give an appearance of efficiency, whereas, in reality, the criminal activities could go on undisturbed.”

Furthermore, CABS reminded that in the last 30 months, only one out of the six the reported cases resulted in a prosecution, a very low rate, compared with the results achieved by other enforcement agencies abroad.

The data collected by CABS will now be submitted to the European Commission “to prove once again Cyprus’ non-compliance with the minimum standards required by the EU Birds Directives.”

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