Cyprus mission for Torquay policeman
TORBAY police officer Josh Marshall is heading for Cyprus to help tackle wildlife crime.
PC Marshall, who covers the Ellacombe area of Torquay, will be giving up his free time to help police in Cyprus.
Tens of thousands of rare birds are illegally trapped each year and sold as a delicacy.
The beat manager and wildlife crime officer will be taking part in a charity mission called Committed Against Bird Slaughter for the next week.
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He said: "As part of the ghastly slaughter, thousands of birds are illegally trapped as they migrate across Cyprus in the spring and again in the Autumn on their return.
"Trappers use mist nets and limesticks which are non-selective methods of capture.
"Over 100 different types of bird species are caught in the traps, some of them endangered species.
“This is a shocking act to witness. If a bird gets caught on a limestick, it struggles, it often ends up hanging upside down and the only relief comes when the trapper comes along and slits its throat.”
Although blackcaps and european robins are generally the intended targets of poachers, often rare protected migratory birds are inadvertently captured and then served.
According to BirdLife, close to half of the 380 bird species recorded in Cyprus have been caught at one time or another by mist nets or limesticks. They estimate that 75 per cent or more of all migrant birds landing in the worst affected areas of Cyprus are caught and killed by poachers.
PC Marshall and other volunteers will work through the night and day to locate and demolish the traps and produce evidence to assist Cypriate police in their prosecutions.