This beautiful little fella was lucky enough to have been found by a concerned citizen who saved the bird and brought it to us. The photo was taken a few minutes after its release, when it had flown free and perched on a nearby tree branch.
While this bird was saved from certain death, others are not as fortunate. This is only the 4th record of the Crimson-winged Finch in Cyprus, and, unfortunately, the 155th species that has 'made' it to the list of bird species affected by illegal bird trapping.
Considering the fact that around 400 bird species have been recorded in Cyprus, of which only 280 are regularly occurring, the particular importance of the number 155 becomes hard to ignore. The responsibility becomes even heavier, when 78 out of the 155 species affected by illegal bird trapping are listed as threatened by the EU Birds Directive and / or BirdLife International.
Hundreds of thousands of birds are killed every year in Cyprus as the result of illegal bird killing. Birds already face a multitude of threats: habitat loss, intensive agriculture, climate change, to name but a few, and illegal bird killing is an added threat.
The ‘black market’ of illegal bird trapping is in the order of 15 million every year, as estimated by the Game and Fauna Service. Trapping is no longer a tradition, as current activity levels reveal an industrialised, large scale and profitable business. Illegal bird trapping creates a bad image for Cyprus which in turn has a negative impact on tourism: yearly losses in revenue range between 40 and 100 million euro, based on a study by Terra Cypria done in 2011, as sensitised tourists choose other destinations. In the end of February 2017 a total of three arrests have been made regarding illegal bird trapping and drugs, which shows that organised crime is also linked to illegal bird trapping.
Bird trapping is illegal according to national legislation (Law 152(I)/2003), by the European Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC) and International Conventions (Bern Convention of 1979 and Bonn Convention of 1979). Legislation stipulates fines up to €17,000 and/or up to 3 years imprisonment, but in reality the fines are not deterrent as they average €800.
BirdLife Cyprus continues relentlessly its campaign against the serious and persistent problem of illegal bird trapping, with its systematic monitoring programme, lobbying actions as well as educational and awareness raising actions.
If you become aware of any poaching incidents, please report them to us and help us combat this problem.