“Final yr, we had tens of losses of flamingos,” Hellicar stated.
Cyprus is a key cease on the migration path for a lot of forms of birds flying from Africa to Europe. The Larnaca Salt Lake, a wetlands community of 4 lakes, sometimes welcomes as many as 15,000 flamingos from colder climates to the southern coast of the island nation within the jap Mediterranean. They keep by means of the winter and go away in March. Different water fowl frequenting the lake embrace geese, waders and seagulls.
Looking is banned round many of the salt lake, however hunters are nonetheless allowed to shoot geese within the community’s southern tip.
The federal government’s Sport and Fauna Service says within the first two months of final yr, 96 flamingos have been discovered useless within the Larnaca Salt Lake wetlands because of lead poisoning. Cyprus Veterinary Providers official Panayiotis Constantinou, who has performed autopsies on flamingos, stated lead from the pellets poisoned the birds.
The excessive variety of deaths is principally attributed to heavy winter rain two years in the past that stirred up the lake sediment and dislodged embedded lead shot.
A sport capturing vary close to the lake’s northern tip closed almost 18 years in the past and authorities organized a clean-up of lead pellets within the lakebed there.
However Hellicar says the clean-up was apparently incomplete. A European Union-funded examine is underway to determine the place vital quantities of lead pellets stay to allow them to be eliminated. Preliminary outcomes of the examine confirmed “very excessive” lead ranges within the wetland’s southern tip and continued duck searching there may compound the issue, Hellicar stated.
“The issue is pronounced,” he stated. “The hazard is actual for the flamingos and different birds that use the realm.”
Cyprus Looking Federation official Alexandros Loizides disagrees, saying that searching in a 200-meter northern swath shouldn’t be an issue as a result of restricted variety of hunters. He stated he’s unaware of any flamingo deaths within the space and faults pesticide and fertilizer runoff from close by farms for creating any air pollution issues hurting wildlife.
“I believe the impact of searching there may be very small on the particular a part of the lake,” stated Loizides. “It’d be a disgrace for hunters to lose the one space the place searching is permitted close to wetlands.”
A ban on the usage of lead pellets close to wetlands has been in drive in Cyprus for a number of years. An identical, EU-wide ban took impact final month however conservationists consider the legal guidelines are usually not being enforced sufficient.
Pantelis Hadjiyeros, head of the Sport and Fauna Service, stated it’s much less essential to ban searching within the space than to persuade hunters to cease utilizing shells with lead pellets.
“It needs to be drummed into those that the usage of lead pellets is prohibited close to wetlands and that solely metal pellets are permitted,” Hadjiyeros informed The Related Press.
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