Cyprus Mail

Anti-trapping activist says was attacked by poachers in Avgorou

File photo: birds trapped in a mist net

The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) on Friday said one of its members was violently attacked the previous night by bird trappers in Avgorou and left needing urgent medical assistance.

A press release said the Italian volunteer discovered three set trapping nets with a loud decoy caller used to attract migratory birds, equipment used for illegal bird trapping, and immediately reported it to the Game and Fauna Service.

While waiting on site for the agents to arrive, “he was chased and cornered by an unmarked car and subsequently attacked by three balaclava clad trappers,” it continued.

“After repeated blows to the head and body, the volunteer fell to the ground and was kicked until he remained motionless”.

The man was immediately rushed to hospital where he received treatment for concussion as well as stitches on his forehead. He is now in a stable condition.

This is not the first time CABS activists have faced threats or violence; in late September, volunteers were attacked by a group of trappers and threatened with a shotgun.

“In repeated correspondence to the relevant ministries, we have already warned on several occasions that not only is illegal bird trapping increasing, but that tackling it as a civilian Non Governmental Organisation is becoming an increasingly dangerous task,” Alex Heyd, CABS General Director said. “It is also patently clear that the Game and Fauna Service does not have sufficient resources to tackle the situation effectively”.

“Still, we have received no reply. Since the dismantling of the police’ Anti-Poaching Unit, trapping is on the rise and so is the violence connected to it. Does it require someone to be killed in the name of trying to uphold the law before the message gets through to the government in Nicosia?”

CABS are offering a reward of 5,000 Euros for information leading to the identification of the assailants. Contact CABS Investigations Officer Andrea Rutigliano at +39 346 9484460 or Email [email protected]

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