Day 3 of the anti-poaching camp in Cyprus. I walked for 8 miles in the almost palpable blackness of the night in the middle of the British Eastern Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia (ESBA), carrying two rescued owls in my bag. Their tiny claws scratching against my back, begging me to set them free. These were only two of the 15000 birds that get killed every night in Cyprus and that we had to walk past, unable to set them all free, while trying to dodge the trappers that were slaughtering them right next to us, sometimes less than a hundred meters away.
Kilometres of nets, so many nets that at one point we even accidentally walked into one, with rare species hanging from them like shrikes, nightjars and scops owls. With our bags and pockets full of birds, we couldn't rescue any more than we did. To quote our coordinator's words "this is like emptying the ocean with a bucket". There isn't much we can do from here, a bunch of volunteers against powerful organised crime at work day and night, with 300 armed guards constantly patrolling every inch of land.
What needs to be done is inform the British public that this is happening on their land, in their name. Only a strong opposition coming from the UK and military action on the ground stands a chance of changing the course of things over here.
For now, here's a picture of the owls I carried out of the base and that were freed in a safe area at sunrise.