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Birds: Cyprus

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN HL1093, tabled on 19 July 2017

Her Majesty's Government what further steps they have taken, following reports that 800,000 songbirds were trapped and killed last autumn, to end this illegal activity on the British Cape Pyla firing range in Cyprus.

Answered on

1 August 2017

Regular anti bird trapping operations have continued since autumn 2016. Between November 2016 and June 2017, 560 mist nets were removed from the Cape Pyla ranges as well as a significant quantity of other items of bird trapping paraphernalia. In May 2017, the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) court in Dhekelia issued fines to 13 bird trappers, many of whom were caught in the act by hidden surveillance cameras on the Cape Pyla ranges; they were fined between €820 and €2,500 after their illegal activities were filmed by motion activated cameras. A further three accused bird trappers are due to be sentenced in the SBA court on 8 August, charged with the offences of large scale pursuit of wild birds.

The SBA Administration is constantly reviewing its plans to counter illegal bird trapping. As well as activities outlined above the SBA Police will use all lawful means to target individuals involved in bird trapping and that will include any criminal activity they may be involved in. We will work closely with colleagues in Cyprus Police to achieve this.

Most recently, soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Prince of Wales's Royal Regiment based in Dhekelia, successfully destroyed up to 1,500 metres of irrigation equipment over 11 acres of land on the Cape Pyla ranges during a night time operation. The irrigation, which is laid illegally by criminal bird trapping gangs, is used to promote the growth of invasive acacia bushes.