A conversation with Martin Hellicar, Campaigns Manager for BirdLife Cyprus (BLC). Martin has been working with BLC since 2003 and is a tireless advocate for Cypriot birds. Among his concerns is the huge and illegal slaughter of birds (mainly Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla – in 2009 some 3/4 million Blackcaps were sold for €5 each) for a local (and illegal) ‘delicacy’ called ambelopoulia, a slaughter driven by the vast profits that organised gangs are now making selling the birds to local restaurants.
Some of the statistics that Martin gives as he describes the scale of the illegal trapping are truly shocking ie the use of mist nets has risen this year by 140% and limestick usage by 265%, trappers are now protecting their mist nets with dogs and guns, and just over 100 different bird species are known to have been caught illegally!
Disclaimer: This podcast has been produced by Talking Naturally to support conservation. No fees or benefits of any kind have been charged or accepted by Talking Naturally. Bandwidth costs for this podcast are sponsored by Digital Spring.
“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/
Written interview (March 2009) with Martin Hellicar on 10,000 Birds: http://10000birds.com/interview-martin-hellicar-birdlife-cyprus.htm
UPDATE: A superb article by American writer Jonathon Franzen about ambelopoulia is now online at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/8102878/Songbirds-poached-and-eaten.html
Click here to subscribe to Talking Naturally on iTunes. It’s free!
Would you like to connect with our audience?
Talking Naturally is growing all the time. If you or your organisation would like to sponsor a podcast package and reach around 350,000 wildlife enthusiasts per month, why not drop Digital Spring an email. firstname.lastname@example.org