Will Cyprus spring shooting be banned forever?
After a successful campaign led by BirdLife International and BirdLife Cyprus (BirdLife in Cyprus), the Cypriot Government has decided to stop the shooting of birds during the month of May on the island. “Banning hunting during May will greatly help to save migratory birds that pass through Cyprus”, said Martin Hellicar, Executive Manager from BirdLife Cyprus.
Prior to the new law, hunting was allowed in 2008 for eight days in May to control crows – particularly Carrion Crow Corvus corone and Black-billed Magpie Pica pica. This initiative was then seen as an excuse to allow hunters to also shoot migratory species like European Turtle-doves Streptopelia turtur. However, this year the ‘corvid control decree’ has been reduced to just three days in June when the risk to migratory species is deemed to be low.
“Banning hunting during May will greatly help to save migratory birds that pass through Cyprus” —Martin Hellicar, Executive Manager from BirdLife Cyprus
When the measure was issued last year, BirdLife reacted immediately by contacting the European Commission to denounce it. The Commission heeded BirdLife’s call and contacted the Cypriot Government; as a result the ‘crows control decree’ has been recently modified.
However this was not the first incident related to this measure. In 2007, BirdLife managed to ban spring hunting after another derogation from the EU Birds Directive related to the shooting of European Turtle-doves wrongly justified as ‘crop damage control’. The European Commission sent a letter of formal notice - a first warning - to Cyprus, who promised not to repeat this practice.
Three years of continuous vigilance by BirdLife and its Partner in Cyprus finally paid off this year as now, not only European Turtle-dove, but also other migratory species such as European Bee-eater Merops apiaster and Common Quail Coturnix coturnix can fly more safely over the island.
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Credits: BirdLife Cyprus (BirdLife in Cyprus)