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Cyprus

Anti-poaching unit to be re-established after four years

file photo

The anti-poaching unit will be re-established following a relevant cabinet decision, it emerged on Friday.

The move comes to satisfy a long-standing demand by animal activists who have been warning over the spike in bird trapping since the unit was dismantled in 2019.

It concerned a proposal included in the government programme of President Nikos Christodoulides, who authorised the Ministers of Interior and Justice to proceed with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Cyprus Police and the Game and Wildlife Service as soon as possible. Cabinet approved the proposal on Thursday.

Among other things, the main tasks of the unit will be to prevent and combat poaching, to provide all possible assistance to hunters and to train hunters.

The anti-poaching unit was among the measures discussed to regulate poaching between the justice minister Anna Prokopiou and the hunting federation earlier this year. The federation has been in favour of the establishment of the anti-poaching unit but it noted that anti-poaching measures should focus on endemic species, mainly hare and moufflon, which would be left unprotected if resources were taken up with protecting migratory birds, “such as ambelopoulia” (black caps).

According to official data from last year, some 718 fines have been issued for poaching over the previous five years, the amount due totalling about €2.3m.

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