Police on British military bases in Cyprus have used drones and night vision goggles to turn the tide in a campaign against illegal trappers catching and killing hundreds of thousands of songbirds
Officers working with forces personnel estimate they have cut the number of migratory songbirds caught in trappers’ nets by as much as 70 per cent and destroyed large amounts of kit used to catch them
The year-long crackdown on illegal bird poaching on the British sovereign bases in Cyprus has resulted in a “huge” drop in the number of poachers operating inside the bases’ territory
Small migratory birds such as blackcaps are considered a traditional delicacy by some Cypriots and sophisticated trapping feeds a multimillion-pound illicit trade.
Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, said: “Bird trapping is not only a cruel and barbaric trade, it lines the pockets of criminal gangs to the tune of thousands of pounds.
“Thanks to the fantastic work of our Armed Forces and the Sovereign Base Police there has been a 70 per cent fall in the number of birds killed in the Sovereign Base Areas. By seizing and destroying the tools criminals use, we are protecting migratory birds and hitting bird trappers in the pocket. And by doubling the number of thermal image drones used to catch the poachers, we will strive for even more positive results.”
In partnership with the University of Exeter, we aim to find out how we can improve the health and welfare of cats and wildlife. Find out more below:
What is behind the continuing decline of our songbirds today? What are the underlying reasons and what potential solutions should be investigated?
SongBird Survival is committed to finding out the answers to these questions through commissioning quality scientific research into the issue.
In 2016, we produced a short film, presented by ecologist Katy Thomas, introducing SongBird Survival and looking at where the UK’s famous dawn chorus is heading.
Since the 1970s, populations of songbirds in the UK have crashed, and our dawn chorus is far less rich and diverse than it was in our parents’ and grandparents’ day.
Yellowhammer populations have declined by 55%, cornbunting numbers are down by 87%, whilst tree sparrows have suffered a rapid decline of 95%. These figures are shocking, but what is causing our small birds populations to crash? Loss of habitat? Predation? Intensification of farming?
SongBird Survival believes that research is the key to understanding why.
We fund high quality scientific research to investigate the drivers behind these population declines and promote evidence-based solutions to restore songbird numbers.
With your support we hope to draw attention to the plight of our song and other small birds. Your membership and donations help to fund our research programme and add weight to our work with other organisations. Together, we can save our songbirds before it’s too late.
To find out more about our research and objectives, watch our YouTube video.
We partner with like-minded organisations to commission targeted research into areas where scientific evidence is currently sparse, inadequate or lacking.
To date we have partnered with the University of Exeter, the University of Reading, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the University of St Andrews, in projects which examine the potential causes behind songbird population decline. Such research produces high-quality, peer-reviewed research papers, contributing to ornithological and ecological knowledge in the UK.
We have exciting future projects in the pipeline, and will be bringing you news of this very soon. In the mean time, further information about our current and past research programmes can be seen on our website.
SongBird Survival: Saving Songbirds With Science