More than 2 million songbirds slaughtered over Cyprus last year: BirdLife

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2015 11:10 AM

NICOSIA (Reuters) - More than two million migratory songbirds were indiscriminately slaughtered over Cyprus last year to be served as delicacies in local restaurants, a conservation society said on Monday.

The 2014 estimate represented the worst cull since monitoring started more than a decade ago, the Cyprus division of the international BirdLife organization sa

Cyprus lies on a key migratory bird route between Europe and Africa, but thousands of birds fall into poachers' nets each spring and autumn.

The songbirds, known by the generic term "ampelopoulia", include birds ranging from a blackcap warbler to a robin, and even small owls are occasionally caught.

The birds are trapped in barely-visible mistnets placed in low-lying shrublands, or on sticks dipped in sticky lime. They are served up pickled or fried in taverns across the island.

Although trapping is illegal, authorities had yet to introduce a comprehensive action plan against bird trapping, BirdLife Cyprus said.

(Reporting By Michele Kambas Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)