Environmental NGO Birdlife Cyprus has expressed their disappointment ahead of the hunting season, as Cyprus has failed to take action to protect turtle doves, whose populations have decreased drastically across Europe.

The NGO said that populations of the species have decreased 79 per cent across Europe in the last 30 years, and that other countries in the EU had already taken measures and issued directives to prohibit hunting the bird.

Meanwhile, in Cyprus each hunter will be able to kill 12 turtle doves (trigonia), while the hunting season specifically for turtle doves has been increased from a period of two weeks to three weeks from September 3 to September 24.

The international union for the conservation of nature (IUCN) has characterised the bird as a threatened species.

The latest population analyses for turtle doves show that not only has the population of the species in western Europe declined dramatically (even though some countries have already implemented zero culling policies such as Portugal, France and Spain), but there is now a continuous decline in the population and in the central-eastern migration corridor, in which Cyprus is also located, the organisation said.

“It is clear that reducing the overall culling limit per country is not enough and that a temporary ban on hunting for the species should be implemented in both migratory corridors,” the group said.

The NGO added that they have sent written statements on the concerning matter to Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou to instate a temporary ban on hunting the species.