BirdLife Cyprus has called on the government to reinstate stiff penalties for illegal bird trapping, stressing that the European Commission is likely to start fining Cyprus for failing to tackle the issue, as it has already warned in a letter recently.
In a statement released on Friday, the organisation said the Cypriot government has misled the EU so far in relation to illegal bird trapping, “painting a very different picture compared to the reality of things.”
BirdLife Cyprus recalled that in December 2020 the House voted to amend the law on the protection and management of wild birds, an act that the organisation called “disastrous.”
“The amendment saw the out-of-court fine for unlawfully killing up to 50 birds from a list of 14 protected species reduced from €2,000 to just €200,” the statement said.
“Protected species are the main targets for illegal trapping. The amendment was a major setback for the efforts to protect birds in Cyprus.”
BirdLife added that in October 2021, the European Commission sent a letter to the Cypriot government saying the fines were neither a deterrent nor punitive for poachers and calling for the reinstatement of higher penalties for offenders.
The organisation also disagrees with recent claims by the government that illegal trapping in Cyprus has decreased.
“Our volunteers have noticed exactly the opposite, since 2018 we registered more incidents of illegal trapping compared to previous years.
“How can the government say the current legislation is not protecting poachers when more and more cases of illegal trapping are being registered every year
“Killing protected species of birds cannot be explained or justified in any way so we are calling on the state to reintroduce stiffer fines for poachers with another amendment of the law in place,” the statement concluded.