The Commission today sent a first warning letter to
The official excuse that Turtle Doves were being shot in May for causing “serious damage to cereal crops” is not upheld by analyses of the doves' diet (composed almost entirely of the seeds of cereal field weeds) and is very unlikely to impress the Commission.
All SPAs should have been designated upon accession in May 2004 and the inventory of IBAs – representing the best available evidence on priority bird habitats on the island – should have been adopted as the basis for SPA designation. IBAs such as the Oroklini and Paralimni lakes, Akamas and Diarizos have not been turned into SPAs, leaving priority species such as Black-winged Stilts, Spur-winged Plovers, Long-legged Buzzards and Rollers unprotected.
“Cyprus must now ensure the ill-advised decision to allow spring shooting last month was a complete one-off, never to be repeated, otherwise we will face being taken to the European Court by the Commission,” said BirdLife Cyprus Manager Martin Hellicar. “The Interior Ministry must now also move swiftly to designate all of our key bird habitats as SPAs, a long overdue action, especially when one considers the imminent threats to many sites from poorly planned developments,” he added .
Konstantin Kreiser, EU Policy Manager at BirdLife International in