I certainly share concerns which have been raised about wild bird poaching in Cyprus. The UK Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) on Cyprus are covered by the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, and adhere to its provisions.

Combating illegal trapping is a key priority for the SBA police and dedicated patrols are run daily throughout the known trapping season. Police have for a number of years put considerable effort into anti-poaching measures and more recently there has been an especially robust campaign, which included expanding the patrols. They also work in close co-operation with the Cyprus Game and Fauna Service, the appropriate Cypriot authority.

I understand that base authorities have also acted in conjunction with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to remove acacia scrub from the site, much of which had been planted illegally by trappers to attract birds for them to catch. I was pleased to hear that this move was welcomed as a positive step by Birdlife International.

I am assured that the SBA authorities will continue to work with the Republic of Cyprus to bring an end to this unpleasant, outlawed practice.

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