Six illegal bird trappers were arrested in the past two weeks, according to numbers published by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) on Tuesday.
In a social media post, the activist group detailed its winter operations, which focused primarily on preventing the illegal trapping and hunting of overwintering thrushes, explaining that while thrushes can legally be shot during open season trapping and luring with electronic decoys is illegal.
The post said that the past two weeks have been marked by low – for Cypriot standards – trapping activity, which enabled activists to monitor illegal hunting with decoy callers, resulting in six arrests, some of the people known to them from previous seasons.
In total, activists confirmed 21 active bird trapping sites, 25 sites with illegal hunting activity and secured 13 prosecutions – four for trapping and nine for illegal hunting.
They also released over 60 birds from traps and seized a range of equipment comprising 28 mist nets, four limesticks, and 25 decoy callers.
“Despite these successes the level of violence and intimidation against our teams is on the increase and as soon as the birds return in higher numbers so too will the incidents of illegal poaching,” the post said.
It added that despite several attacks and intimidation against activists, the team “remains resolute”.
In the latest incident, reported just last weekend, an explosive device was planted in an activist’s car, while activists were also assaulted on Christmas Eve.
“We urgently call on the police to dedicate more resources to combating the problem and the government to reinstate the specialised police anti-poaching unit which was dissolved in 2019,” CABS said.