The Pandoteira project organised a barn owl release, combined with the placement of artificial nests for this important bird species, on Friday December 8th 2023, in Oroklini.
Barn owls are very useful for farmers, as their main prey is rodents. They are, therefore, a natural and harmless way of biological rodent control. Rodenticides, which kill non-target species such as raptors, including barn owls, long-eared owls, hawks and eaglescan, are harmful not only to wildlife and domestic animals, but also to humans.
The barn owls were set free after receiving care and treatment at the Wildlife Care and Rehabilitation Center of the Game and Fauna Service. Before their release, each bird was ringed, a standard practice to facilitate future monitoring and research.
Pupils from the Oroklini Primary School had the opportunity to be present at the release and the placement of artificial nests. The kids were also able to learn about the importance of the Natura 2000 network, as well as observe invertebrates while learning about their importance to the ecosystem.
The event was organised by the Game and Fauna Service, BirdLife Cyprus and Terra Cypria, in the framework of the Pandoteira project. Nesting boxes were provided under the National Scheme of Biological control of rodents through the use of barn owl nesting boxes, supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment.
The Pandoteira project deals with the management of the Natura 2000 network in Cyprus, with the purpose of making the network more effective and functional, as well as sustainable. The project is co-funded by the EU’s LIFE Programme, it is coordinated by the Department of Environment and has 13 other associated beneficiaries from Public Bodies, Universities, NGOs and private companies.
Follow this link to find out more about the Pandoteira project.