More than a million birds, most of them migratory, were killed in Cyprus in the past year and served up as local culinary delicacies, conservationists said on Monday.
Songbirds are a popular dish on the east Mediterranean island, which lies on a key migratory route. Although trapping and consumption is banned, they are still served up in some restaurants, say wildlife campaigners.
"Unless decisive action is taken the future will be bleak for Europe's migrant birds," said Martin Hellicar, executive director of the BirdLife charity in Cyprus.
Hellicar said surveys by the organisation suggested more than 1.1 million birds had been killed from March 2007 to February 2008. Indiscriminate trapping methods meant many threatened migratory birds and resident birds were killed, he said.
"In terms of Europe, Cyprus are probably the worst trapping offenders," Hellicar told Reuters.
Blackcaps, robins and song thrushes are the main targets, caught in thickets of vegetation in fine mist nets or on sticks dipped in sticky lime. Birds are lured to coastal areas by birdsong recordings. There are also suggestions that boats are also being used for trappings at sea.
One tiny bird, served picked, fried or grilled, goes for five euros each in some taverns, BirdLife said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Haziran 2008, 12:03