Saturday, 21 December 2013

UK bases in Cyprus 'are bird-trapping hotspots'

UK sovereign base areas (SBAs) in Cyprus have become illegal bird-trapping "hotspots", according to research.
The RSPB and BirdLife Cyprus have been monitoring songbird-trapping operations on the island since 2002.
BirdLife Cyprus told BBC News that, in that time, the scale of bird-trapping had increased by 54%.
Although it is widespread, the charity said that some of the largest trapping operations were on UK soil.

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Robin in a mist net
A dozen birds can fetch up to 80 euros”
BirdLife Cyprus
These take place on the two British SBAs in Cyprus, at Akrotiri and Dhekelia, sites covering about 100 sq miles that are British sovereign territory and within which the UK maintains a permanent military presence.
Martin Hellicar from BirdLife Cyprus explained that in Dhekelia - in the south-east of the island - organised criminal gangs created "labyrinths" of acacia trees, irrigating the plantations and cutting corridors through them in order to set up long mist nets.
These operations often also use loudspeakers with recordings of bird calls in order to lure migrating birds into the almost invisible nets.
The songbirds are killed and sold to restaurants for the illegal but widely available Cypriot delicacy ambelopoulia.
"A dozen birds can fetch up to 80 euros," a spokesperson from BirdLife Cyprus told BBC News. READ MORE

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