It is one of the most important problems we face as a state, which dramatically contributes to the loss of biodiversity. Trapping of migratory birds on our island is mainly done with mist nets and lime sticks, methods that are non-selective; this means that both common and very rare species of birds can be trapped, indiscriminately.
Today, this activity has grown into an uncontrolled tax-free business with a profit of millions of euros. According to BirdLife Cyprus, more than 2.5 million birds are trapped each year by the illegal use of nets and lime sticks.
Cyprus is within one of the most important migratory bird corridors between Europe, Asia and Africa. This natural wealth could be harnessed to attract bird watching tourism.
Birdwatching is one of the fastest growing hobbies in Europe and America, and Cyprus is particularly suitable for this activity. Migration periods (spring and autumn) are periods when many tourists do not visit our island, but they could be encouraged to come with organized packages.
Bird watching, along with other forms of ecotourism, can be used to attract nature-environment tourism in general.
Clearly, to attract bird-watching tourists, the illegal trapping of migratory birds must be stopped, because you cannot attract bird lovers on one hand and, on the other hand, slaughter the birds they have come to see.
The Terra Cypria Foundation has prepared a report on the economic impact of this activity on tourism, considering how many people may not visit our island as a reaction to the failure to stop the illegal trapping of migratory birds.
Effective countering of the illegal trapping of migratory species with demonstration of zero tolerance by all actors. The exhibition of political will, so that the competent authorities will maximise their efforts against illegal trappers and restaurants illegally serving these birds. Lastly, but importantly, we aim for implementation of the Strategic Plan to Address the Illegal Trapping of Birds in Cyprus, which was prepared by all stakeholders at the initiative of the BirdLife Cyprus. Association.