BONN, Germany, September 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
British military base of Dhekelia is a 'paradise for poachers' - CABS
The British Eastern Sovereign Base Areas (ESBA) in Cyprus are the most rampant and professional stronghold of illegal songbird trapping in Europe, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) said today. According to the NGO the key area for illegal poaching is the British military base (Sovereign Base Area - SBA) of Dhekelia in the east of the island which is considered property of the Crown and of the Defence Department. A study published by CABS in June revealed that each spring and autumn local trappers set up at least 800 illegal nets in Dhekelia with a total length of almost 10 kilometres. "We estimate that each year around 1.5 million songbirds perish in the illegal trapping grounds in Dhekelia," said Committee Chairman Heinz Schwarze.
Victims include Blackcap, Golden Oriole, Nightingale, Cuckoo, Warblers and numerous other endangered species caught whilst migrating through Cyprus. The illegal sale of the birds caught in the SBA to fuel the restaurant trade is a very lucrative business. According to the Cypriot Ministry of the Interior each year illegal bird trapping generates millions of euros for the black market. Despite a total trapping ban the risk of poachers being caught in the ESBA is practically nil. "In order to avoid conflict with criminals and the local trapping lobby the illegal killing is believed to be widely tolerated", Heinz Schwarze stated. "The inaction has turned Dhekelia into a paradise for bird poachers. Large parts of the trapping areas are now believed to be firmly in the hands of criminal gangs who do not shy away from violence against conservationists".
In order to get the politicians in Westminster to act, CABS have launched an international protest campaign. The aim is to convince the new government under Prime Minister May, to take a stand for the birds and against the widespread illegal poaching. This primarily requires a massive reinforcement of the authorities responsible for combating environmental crime - the military police - and adopting a zero tolerance policy towards convicted offenders. To achieve this goal, CABS has called upon all conservationists and bird lovers in the EU to add their voice directly to the Prime Minister.
Those who want to protest can use an e-card petition on the CABS website: http://www.komitee.de/en/protest/protest-campaign-sba-cyprus
Contact for photos, video footage and information: CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld, Tel.: +49-228-665521, Email: CABS@komitee.de
The CABS field report from 2016 mentioned in the text can be found here: http://www.komitee.de/sites/www.komitee.de/files/wiki/2016/02/Cyprus%20Field%20Report%20Spring%202016%20(en).pdf
SOURCE Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)