RSPB Conservationists Appalled by Cyprus Bird of Prey Massacre


This page contains 6 reader comments. Click here to view (latest Wed 10/10/07 13:01).

Red-footed Falcon (photo: Adrian Dowling).

BirdLife Cyprus, the RSPB’s partner on the Mediterranean island, has recorded the worst reported slaughter of birds of prey on the island, and indeed Europe, in recent years. The incident, which took place within the Akrotiri British Sovereign Base Area, involved the gunning down of 52 Red-footed Falcons – a bird threatened with global extinction - migrating through the island.

In the savage incident, which took place on Friday 5th October, 46 Red-footed Falcons were recovered dead, and another six were left with horrific injuries. Mike Miltiadous, a BirdLife Cyprus research officer, said: "I have never come across such a scale of a massacre of birds of prey in Cyprus."

The Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area shares a border with the Republic, and it is reported that hunters are taking advantage of the lack of joint anti-poaching patrols by the Sovereign Base Area Police and the Cyprus Game Fund, which regulates hunting on behalf of the Cypriot government. There are reports of hunters 'running wild' along the border between the Base and the Republic, simply stepping across the dividing line to avoid detection by the SBA police or Game Fund patrols.

Martin Hellicar, the Executive Manager of BirdLife Cyprus, said: "Friday's massacre should have been prevented by the SBA Police, but we believe it is the product of the unacceptably lax state of affairs in this part of the island."

BirdLife Cyprus also called for an immediate ban on shooting on the entire Akrotiri peninsula. Although almost all the peninsula is a protected reserve a narrow coastal strip along the west is opened for hunting of Turtle Dove and Quail from early September to mid-October.

The RSPB has been working with BirdLife Cyprus for many years to clamp down on illegal bird killing. The Society's Nicola Crockford said: "Red-footed Falcons are suffering an alarming decline in Europe. This terrible massacre must act as a catalyst for better co-operation between the Sovereign Base Area and the Cyprus Game Fund."

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The information in this article was believed correct at the time of writing. BirdGuides accepts no responsibility for errors, or for any consequences of acting on information in the article. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily shared by BirdGuides Ltd.

hide section Reader comments (6)

This is sickening and as it happened within the base are the MOD implicated? How many people were involved? Just come back from Baie de Somme dismayed by sight of injured waders and dead birds on the beach at Marquenterre where hunters were setting decoys on the reserve boundary.
   B.D.SNELL, 08/10/07 19:07Report inappropriate post Report 
Another example of the EU being powerless to stop the barbarity of the macho men who think it great to shoot wild birds. I am sick of it.
   Ralph Darvill, 08/10/07 21:47Report inappropriate post Report 
I was in Cyprus 2 years ago and the only place where there was any shooting (hundreds of shots) whilst I was there was exactly in that part of Akrotiri, so this is not a new thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   steve wadsworth, 09/10/07 13:59Report inappropriate post Report 
What a disgrace such a fabulous bird massacred for no reason whats so ever !!!! I love going to Cyprus on holidays. Guess what no more !! Join me and boycott this place until the laws have changed and this needless slaughter is STOPPED. If we all stop going they will have to take notice !!
   Peter Curran, 09/10/07 20:31Report inappropriate post Report 
NEVER go to the place for a holiday and write to your MP. This is disgusting in this day and age!!
   Armitagebirder, 09/10/07 22:57Report inappropriate post Report 
If you want to do something about this write to Stavros Dimas who is the European Commissioner for the Environment, at stavros.dimas@ec.europa.eu I have written to him about illegal hunting in Malta and Cyprus. The more people who write the more likely that something will be done. Perhaps Birdguides could provide a suitable letter?
   Steve Dettmar, 10/10/07 13:01Report inappropriate post Report 

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