Poll: Should the illegal trapping of birds in Cyprus be stopped?

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At roughly 250 km long by 100 km wide, Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean and is used as a crucial stopover site by migrating birds during their sea crossings.

The volume of migration there is actually quite incredible with millions of songbirds, waterfowl and birds of prey passing through twice a year.

With such a volume of birds streaming through Cyprus, it is unsurprising that the hunting and trapping of migrant birds there is rooted deep in the historical culture of the islands.

In fact, evidence of seasonal hunting in Cyprus stems back to the middle ages.  In the past, songbirds – mainly Blackcaps and similar-sized warblers – were trapped for consumption by the rather poor islanders who saw the twice-yearly influx of birds as a valuable source of protein while they scraped their meagre existence, living off the land.

Now just by-catch, a magnificent Eurasian Bee-eater, robbed forever of its aerial mastery, hangs helpless and awaiting despatch in a Cypriot hunter’s mist net.

The impact this had on bird populations then would have been tiny and quite sustainable. Nowadays however, bird trapping in Cyprus has little to do with tradition or history. Nor is it sustainable. It has become widespread, extensive and is driven by by profits sought by organised crime.

Bird trapping is a growing problem in Cyprus – Credit: BirdLife Cyprus

The reason is the demand for a local dish made from small passerines called Ambelopoulia which is considered a delicacy by certain members of the Cypriot community and, perhaps more worryingly, some misguided tourists. The dish is in such demand that would-be diners are prepared to pay in excess of €5 per bird with the associated illegal industry considered to be worth in excess of €15,000,000 per year.

While the trapping of birds (by non selective methods such as mist nets and limesticks) and the sale of Ambelopoulia has been illegal since 1974, the law has little deterrent effect.

BirdLife Cyprus advises that despite strong evidence suggesting the vast majority of islanders are totally against the practice,  in excess of two million birds are now illegally killed there each year.

Another Cypriot Hoopoe heads for the pot. Photo: H Yorganci / BirdLife Cyprus

Their recent surveys show that trapping is still increasing year on year and more than 150 different species of birds have been found in mistnets and on limesticks including no less than 78 listed as threatened by the EU.

We invite you to share your opinion whether the illegal trapping of birds in Cyprus should be stopped. Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Should the illegal trapping of birds in Cyprus be stopped?

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Take action to stop the killing …

Focusing on Wildlife is sponsoring the “Dutch Knights” in the “Champions of the Flyway” international fundraising event taking place in Eilat, Israel on 25 March 2015. While the racing might be light-hearted, the goal is to raise funding, so that BirdLife International can combat the illegal trapping of birds in Cyprus.

Please help to raise awareness by sharing this article on Facebook and Twitter

Many readers have already responded to our appeal, and we are well on the way to reaching our goal.


Every donation in GBP receives a 25% supplement from the UK Government, and this goes directly to BirdLife International.

Please support our efforts by making a donation in any currency to BirdLife International Charity Reg. No. 1042125.

Thank you for your support.

 

Ken Billington

Ken Billington

Ken, a scientist by training held various management positions in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries during his professional career, enabling him to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Americas, North Africa, Asia and Japan. Ken has always been a keen photographer and bought his first telephoto lens 10 years ago. This was the beginning of his interest in bird photography. Since then he has also become an active supporter of birding and wildlife conservation.

Ken Billington

Ken Billington

Ken, a scientist by training held various management positions in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries during his professional career, enabling him to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Americas, North Africa, Asia and Japan. Ken has always been a keen photographer and bought his first telephoto lens 10 years ago. This was the beginning of his interest in bird photography. Since then he has also become an active supporter of birding and wildlife conservation.

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Home Simon

Stop, sick
Not human

Jade Blume

dieses Vogel Morden soll unterbunden werden – hohe Strafen aussetzen mit Haft bis zu zehn Jahren. Diese Vögel sollen unter Naturschutz gestellt werden.

Daniela Cramer
Daniela Cramer

Auch hier (wie an vielen Orten der Welt) muss sich das Verhältnis den Tieren gegenüber drastisch verändern. Verstöße gegen Tiere müssten per Weltgesetz hart verfolgt und bestraft werden.

Linda Ellen Sabino

YES the ILLIGAL TRAPING of birds in Cyprus should be stopped? it is beyond disgusting, prison sentences and fines are not high enough. I don't care what the reason is for this or what other country's do whatever it still does not make this right.

Jean Clelland-Morin

Birds are meant to FLY. We are proliferating our human species, invading the natural habitat of others and destroying all in our path

George Deprelle

Shame on Cyprus! This is not fair, to massacre birds wanting to have a stop-over on a beautiful island.

Liz Wilson

Of course!!!!!

Janny de Vos

Stop dierenleed ik gruwel er van ik schaam mij dat ik tot het ras mens behoor bah

Trees Rosenbrand

This is disgusting stop this!!!!!!

Susanne Koolman
Susanne Koolman

Of Course!!!! STOP IT NOW! STOP CRUELTY!!!

Kerry Firkin

There is no reason to trap these birds and it should be stopped now

Kerry Firkin

Bloody hell yes I missed read it before there shop be no trapping of birds at a ll

Wolfgang Bonitz
Wolfgang Bonitz

Es ist zum Kotzen das diese Tier Mörder so Frei hantieren können. dieses Vogel Morden muss endlich Beendet und Hart Bestraft werden.

Iain Gibson

I agree wholeheartedly that this practice should be stopped, but to avoid double standards we need to get our own house in order. Is there any moral jusitification in shooting a Teal or a Snipe for amusement, as opposed to killing a Bee-eater for food?

Leigh Lofgren

As a wildlife photographer, seeing the photos and reading what is happening made me sick and this must be stopped. Barbaric and should it be stopped – YES

Linda French

This is disgusting! This should be stopped immediately, and anyone still found doing this should be heavily fined and serve jailtime. The only way to stop it…

Lyn Langford
Lyn Langford

Surely this is a no brainer!

Karen Crawford

Should the illegal trapping of birds in Cyprus be stopped ? Absolutely, YES and 98% of the other people voting agree with me. Trapping beautiful birds like this to eat them is beyond disgusting.

Marc Guyt

Txs Ken! I have made a link in the Dutch Knights facebook page as well.

Sudhir Garg

must be prosecuted and hanged..!!