Cyprus' British base police say 'huge' drop in bird trapping

DHEKELIA, Cyprus — Authorities at British military bases in Cyprus say a yearlong crackdown on illegal bird poaching has resulted in a "huge" drop in the number of poachers operating inside the bases' territory.

They also point to a 70 percent reduction in the trapping of blackcaps over the same period.

Small migratory birds are considered a delicacy by some Cypriots, and trapping feeds a multimillion-euro illicit trade.

Authorities on Friday used heavy equipment to crush bird calling devices and other trapping paraphernalia. They also seized irrigation pipes used to water acacia trees that conceal nets.

Dhekelia British Base Police Chief Jon Ward said combatting poachers remains a priority and that a 12-person anti-poaching unit will expand its use of drones and hidden cameras to enforce the law.

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