More Than 1 Million Birds in Cyprus Killed By Illegal Trapping this Fall

Hoopoe caught on limesticks. Photo: Hu?seyin Yorganc?name
More than 1 million birds have been illegally slaughtered in Cyprus so far this fall, the nonprofit BirdLife Cyprus estimates. They’re being snared in mist nets or trapped with limesticks to feed the demand for Ambelopoulia—banned delicacies that consists of pickled or boiled songbirds. The business is worth an estimated $20 million per year. (Scroll down for a video.)
What makes the practice especially atrocious is that it’s indiscriminate: BirdLife Cyprus has recorded 122 avian species illegally trapped, 58 of which are listed as threatened at the international or European Union level.
The trappers spring to action during fall migration. Cyprus is located along one of the major migration routes in the Mediterranean, making it a stopover spot for multitudes of species making the flight from Europe and Asia to Africa. Nearly 380 avian species have been recorded on the island.
The slaughter affects staggering numbers of willow warblers, collared flycatchers, European robins and many, many more species.
“Such levels of trapping constitute an ecological disaster,” said Martin Hellicar, Campaigns Manager of BirdLife Cyprus. “We want to communicate the scale of this slaughter to the generally indifferent public in order to make them more aware of the issue and its ecological impact.”
Every Monday BirdLife Cyprus is posting the death toll on its website. The numbers come from the group’s systematic monitoring program, which has been in place since 2002. Over the past four years, there’s been a big surge in trapping, which has led the organization to push for urgent measures to stop this practice.
To sign a petition to stop illegal bird trapping in Cyprus, click here.
BirdLife Cyprus created the video below on the trapping situation. Fair warning: You might find the content disturbing.

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