BirdLife Cyprus has issued a new call to authorities to protect Paralimni Lake, a Natura 2000 site under threat from illegal draining.
In a post and video on its Facebook page, the NGO said that so far this year, there have been no fewer that five unlicensed interventions to drain the lake.
Each time BirdLife Cyprus has had to protest and the state had to intervene to stop loss of water from the lake.
“We demand proper management of the Lake so that the needs of the species that the area is protected for can be met,” it added.
Paralimni Lake is part of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas because of its importance for birds and for the endemic and rare Grass snake Natrix natrix cypriaca, which is on the brink of extinction.
In 2012, the European Court of Justice condemned Cyprus for failing to protect Paralimni Lake, and for “tolerating” excessive water extraction, a motocross circuit within the site and building development.
Eight years later, Cyprus seems to have not learned the lesson, as no serious efforts have yet been made to effectively protect and manage the area.
In February, the Federation of Environmental Organisations of Cyprus, BirdLife Cyprus, Terra Cypria, and Cyprus Natural Coastline sent an joint open letter to Minister of Agriculture Costas Kadis and Minister of Interior Nicos Nouris protesting the lack of coordinated action on a number of issues threatening Paralimni lake.
Despite its protected status and the fact that the European Court of Justice condemned Cyprus in 2012 for failing to protect Paralimni Lake, the area is still facing an array of threats, the letter said.
Photo of Paralimni Lake by Philippos Georgiades, provided by BirdLife Cyprus.