A remarkable article in the Cyrus Mail by George Psyllides which quotes Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis – a man with such an apparently poor grasp of the situation regarding ambelopoulia that you have to ask how he holds on to his job, and whether he actually gives a damn about the slaughter of million birds on the island he supposedly has some legislative responsibility for…
George Psyllides, Cyprus-Mail.com: 07 July, 2011
CYPRUS yesterday pledged to minimise illegal bird trapping that sees millions of birds killed and offered as expensive delicacies collectively known as ambelopoulia.
Speaking at a European conference on illegal killing of birds held in Larnaca, Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis said the government had the political will to proceed towards the right direction.
“And we are working intensively towards this direction to stamp out every form of illegality and meet our obligations,” Sylikiotis said. He said that the Cyprus EU presidency in the second half of 2012, has set the goal of “achieving significant progress and minimising the problem, which, it is true, in some cases, discredits our country internationally.”
The minister said Cyprus complies fully with the EU Directive* on the illegal killing of birds and protection of bird habitats. [TN: *A lie, a claim based on ignorance, or wishful thinking?]
Every year, authorities report a substantial number of poaching cases with a big chunk relating to killing birds with the use of nets and limesticks, the minister said.
He said the profit from the illegal trade of these birds “is probably one of the sources of the problem.” [TN: Well - ]. To this, Sylikiotis said, authorities, for the past two years at least, have charged numerous restaurant owners caught selling ambelopoulia.
“Rest assured that this action will continue and intensify so that the correct messages go through,” the minister said.
The conference takes place on a the heels of a Spring report that showed a nine per cent increase in illegal bird trapping compared with the same period last year.
Justice Ministry permanent secretary Petros Kareklas said the practice needs to be stamped out but noted that it would not be easy as millions of euros are involved.
“These kinds of activities have been going on for centuries, under different circumstances of course, in the past; today it is not a survival-supporting activity, it is an illegal act for profit and it has to be stopped in the framework of the law here and elsewhere in the world, especially in Europe,” Kareklas said.
Contrary to popular belief, illegal bird trapping, is not a practice exclusively found in Cyprus and other Mediterranean countries. [TN: Popular belief? No-one believes bird trapping doesn't take place elsewhere, but most who are interested in the subject know that amongst countries governed by the EU Birds Directive it's on Cyprus that trapping for the black market/profit has reached such dizzying heights]
“The illegal killing of birds is a widespread practice that very few countries have managed to stop,” a report by BirdLife International said.
Birds are killed for profit or because they are perceived by land users as a competitor for resources.
In other cases birds are persecuted as trophies, either due to ignorance of the law or just for “fun”.
“Over 80 strictly protected bird species were reported as victims of deliberate wildlife crime,” the organisation said. “Birds are shot, trapped, caught with nets, glued to limesticks or even soaked with lethal poisons to lure and kill other birds… The creativity of those who break the law to kill a bird is appalling!” said Boris Barov, European Conservation Manager at BirdLife Europe, who presented the report.
More than 30 years since the adoption of the European legislation aimed at eradicating persecution of wild birds, the situation is far from resolved.
Poisoning is among the most worrying as it is indiscriminate, thus equally dangerous for wildlife and people.
“The (illegal) use of poison is on the increase in many countries with the explicit purpose to kill predators and ‘protect’ economic interests,” Barov added. Barov added. Griffon vultures and Ravens in Cyprus are both on the brink of extinction, largely due to accidental, yet illegal, poisoning.
“BirdLife Cyprus is the Cyprus representative of BirdLife International – a globally active conservation organization that operates in over 100 countries and territories worldwide and is the recognized global authority on birds.
BirdLife Cyprus aims to promote the study and protection of the birds of Cyprus and their habitats, and to enable the citizens of Cyprus and other countries to play their part in achieving this goal
BirdLife Cyprus is working to bring an end to illegal bird trapping. Birds trapped on limesticks and in nets die a horrible death and are then sold for profit to be eaten as an expensive ‘delicacy’. Many birds of threatened species fall foul to the indiscriminate nets and glue sticks. A recent opinion poll showed that the majority of Cypriots are against this illegal activity.”
- The BirdLife Cyprus website (English): http://www.birdlifecyprus.org/
- Cyprus bird trapping surveillance project – Winter 2010/11 (pdf): http://migration.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/birdlifecyprus_winter2010-11trappingsurvey_final_website.pdf