Cypriot authorities have issued fines, the first of their kind, for killings of rare wild birds with poisoned baits, an animal welfare group on the Mediterranean island said Monday.
And “BirdLife Cyprus” stated in a statement that fines totaling 21 thousand euros were imposed last week on an individual after three dead wild birds were found in a rural property in Limassol (South Cyprus).
BirdLife project coordinator Melbo Apostolido noted that this punishment “represents a huge step forward,” hoping that it “will have a deterrent effect on similar illegal acts,” adding, “It is the first time that the criminal use of poison baits has been prosecuted (… .) in Cyprus”.
The violations date back to December 2021. Two rare Bonelli eagles and a dead long-legged hawk were found near the village of Dirona, thanks to a GPS transmitter that one of the eagles was equipped with.--
The evidence collected proved a link between the death of these birds and the suspect’s intention to kill them. The latter said it was meant to “protect chickens from birds of prey,” Apostolido said.-
Cypriot law provides for a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine of up to 20,000 euros, or both, for each such offence.
BirdLife has described the use of poison baits as a crime against wildlife, saying the practice has pushed famous species, such as the griffon vulture, to the brink of extinction in Cyprus. In the fifties of the last century, Cyprus had hundreds of large eagles. Today, there are only nine griffon vultures left on the entire island.