British Bases takes fight to bird trappers

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With one month to go until the illegal bird trapping season begins, British Bases Police said more investment in detection technology is on its way to reduce the number of Ambelopulia snared in mist nets and lime sticks.

August 31 until October 31 marks the Ambelopoulia, or Black Caps, migration period, and Bases Police said it is looking to continue building on the success of the past seven years, which has seen it reduce the activity to record lows.

Officers working for the dedicated Community Action Team (CAT) tasked with combating the crime in the Dhekelia region have revealed that since its establishment in 2016, trapping is down by close to 100%.

According to last season’s statistics, bird trapping since 2015 was reduced by 98.2% overall, with the use of mist nets down 98.4% and lime sticks decreasing by 92%.

Chair of the SBA Police Bird Trapping Steering Group, Chief Inspector Pertev Karagozlou, confirmed 11 arrests were made for bird trapping last season.

Discussing the results of the past year and the investment being made for the season ahead, Chief Inspector Karagozlou said that despite its recent success, there would be no letup from his team.

“We have been very successful since we started the CAT team seven years ago, and we will continue with our strategy and work alongside our key partners from BirdLife Cyprus, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and Cyprus Police.

“We have secured funding that will allow us to invest in more detection technology, so those intent on bird trapping will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“The SBA Police have a zero-tolerance policy on bird trapping, and when a person is caught, they can expect to be prosecuted and face heavy fines or even a prison sentence, as has happened in the past.”

He explained the police are currently finalising its ‘hot list’ for the upcoming season, which will see the most prolific trappers targeted.

“We have a list of our top 10 trappers that look to make large profits by selling the Ambelopoulia which have been caught.

“Our message is that we know who they are and will use everything within our power to catch and prosecute them.”