Cyprus Mail

Three men remanded for illegally hunting mouflon (updated)

Three men were remanded for two days on Tuesday on suspicion of illegally hunting mouflons, which are a protected species.

The three were arrested early on Monday when game service officers, following a tip off, spotted two vehicles parked in the Kambos area of Paphos.

When the drivers saw the officers, they accelerated and attempted to flee the scene.

The game service caught up with one of the vehicles, driven by a 51-year-old man with two other men, aged 21 and 24 as passengers.

Police arrived at the scene and carried out a search of the car, where they found a disassembled shotgun and 13 cartridges.

Officers also found a 11cm pocketknife in the possession of the 24-year-old.

Nearby, police discovered two mouflons in plastic bags, with their heads cut off.

Illegal hunting of a mouflon is punishable with a fine of up to €40,000, a prison sentence of up to three years, or both sentences combined.

The Cyprus mouflon is a subspecies group of the wild sheep which is endemic to Cyprus while other subspecies are common in the southern regions of Europe and Asia.

There are estimated to be around 3,000 mouflons on the island, which for centuries were hunted for their soft meat.

The mouflon is the national animal of Cyprus, featuring on Cyprus pounds and cents before the euro became the national currency in 2006. The animal was also the symbol of former Cyprus Airways, the only state-owned airline in Cyprus, before the new airline established under the same name, selected an olive branch as its symbol.

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