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Politics

For First Time, Cyprus Issues Fines for Poisoning Wild Bird Scavengers

NICOSIA – On an island where eating songbirds as a delicacy – despite prohibitions being widely ignored – Cyprus authorities for the first time have fined people for poisoning wild birds to protect their chickens.

One was fined 21,000 euros ($22,849) three birds of prey were found dead at a rural property in the southern Limassol district, the group BirdLife Cyprus said, reported Agence France-Presse. No name was given being a conviction.

The punishment “represents a big step forward that will hopefully have a strong deterrent effect on similar illegal actions,” BirdLife’s Project Coordinator Melpo Apostolidou said in a statement.

“It is the first time in Cyprus the crime of using poison baits and killing wild birds with the use of poison has been prosecuted,” she told the news site about offenses that happened in December, 2021.

That involved two rare Bonelli’s eagles and one long-legged buzzard that were found dead near Dierona village after a GPS transmitter fitted to one of the eagles led authorities to the discovery.

Evidence collected linked the deaths to the suspect who was found to have intentionally killed the animals “to protect chickens” from the birds, Apostolidou said without saying what it was.

Under Cypriot law, courts can impose prison sentences of up to three years or fines of up to 20,000 euros, or a combination of both for each offense.

BirdLife described the use of poison baits in the countryside as a wildlife crime, saying it has driven iconic species including the griffon vulture to the brink of extinction in Cyprus.
Since 2005, 31 vultures have been poisoned and attempts are being made to restock the population with birds from Spain, as she asked officials to more to prevent poisonings and protect the birds from killings.

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