Cyprus: Marsh Harrier shot with arrow

Birds of prey falling victims to reckless behaviours

It’s always disheartening to see birds fall victim to wildlife crime, especially when these birds of prey are born to reign the skies. In the last months a series of illegal bird killing incidents have come to our attention with victims including two Bonelli’s Eagles, a Hen Harrier, a Common Buzzard, a Griffon Vulture and a Marsh Harrier.

The most recent incident, to our bewilderment, were the photographs of a Marsh Harrier in flight (!) struck with an arrow, sent to us by our member Raija Howard. The Marsh Harrier may be flying in the photo, but the sad truth is that it’s likely doomed to die (as a result of bleeding or lack of food as it is unable to hunt properly).

While most of the incidents were shootings, one of the two Bonelli’s Eagles found dead at Larnaka district died due to poisoning.

The illegal use of poison in the countryside is one of the most serious threats affecting the species, which has many negative impacts on all wildlife. The frequency of these incidents is not only sad but also particularly alarming. Under no circumstances is the use of poisoned bait justified. It is time for decisive and ‘game-changing’ action to tackle this deadly threat.

Raptors are impressive and majestic wild birds – seeing them fly can only leave one awe-struck. These birds deserve our admiration and protection, not to fall victim to reckless behaviours.
If you witness illegal bird killing incidents you must immediately report them to the competent authorities and/or to BirdLife Cyprus. For reports please contact the Game and Fauna Service on: 99445697 (Nicosia), 99445728 (Limassol), 99634325 (Larnaka / Ammohostos), 99445679 (Paphos) or the Cyprus Police on 1414. For incidents within the SBAs please call 1443.

Note: To help resolve the cause of death please take photos of the dead bird as you find it, without moving it. For your own safety do not touch the dead birds with bare hands, as if the cause of death is poisoning, the substances can be dangerous to humans.

This article was first published on 02 March 2018 by BirdLife Cyprus

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