UKIP and Lib Dems act to help Save The Cyprus Grass Snake
MEP’s from the UK, representing UKIP and the Liberal Democrats, have pledged active support for the campaign to save the Cyprus Grass Snake from extinction and set up a captive breeding program.
Both political parties will be writing to European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik (janez.potocnik [at] ec.europa [dot] eu.) asking him for assurances that the Commission will follow this up immediately with the Republic of Cyprus requesting detailed action plans with dates for all conservation activities that are required to save this species.
Snake George had learnt earlier in the week from a telephone call from Germany that the caller was 100% sure that the Government of Cyprus had already received the funding from the EU for the LIFE project which includes the establishment of a captive breeding programme for the Cyprus Grass Snake.
If that is the case why is George not being provided with those resources?
Both UKIP and the Liberal Democrats have also been asked to pursue this issue in the EU Parliament.
Politicians in the UK are helping to save The Cyprus Grass Snake, wildlife experts in Austria are campaigning too, along with supporters in Switzerland and individual members of the Cyprus Green Party are supportive too but Snake George has expressed his disappointment that although the “Green” Cyprus Commissioner of the Environment, Charalampos Theopemptou, has tried to get agreement for a captive breeding programme from the Cyprus Government this has not materialised in nearly a year of fulfilling numerous requests for information punctuated with lengthy silences.
In terms of political action George feels that neither the European Greens or the Cyprus Green Party have apparently done as much as UK politicians 2000 miles from Cyprus have pledged to do so quickly.
George says “Perhaps people should ask environmentally interested political parties if they can show that they have done everything they possibly can to save endemic species from becoming extinct including taking vigorous independent political action themselves which may prove unpopular with the authorities.”
“If the Lib Dems and UKIP in the UK can do this in Europe then it is difficult to understand that the ”Green Movement” in Europe cannot do the same !!”
The Official Line from the Cyprus Government on The Cyprus Grass Snake is;
“I would like to assure you that the competent authorities are fully aware of the issues that you raise in your email and that all of our efforts are concentrated in achieving a conservation regime for all the species and habitats in the Natura 2000 sites, including the vey important species of Natrix natrix cypriaca. Thank you for your interest.”
George’s response to this is “I have worked hard for 18 years since I discovered the Cyprus Grass Snake at Xyliatos Dam and later at Paralimni and again in the Troodos Mountains. I had a lot of support from many European countries but no financial assistance, which meant that I was unable to carry on with my observations. There were many articles in the newspapers and also broadcast on TV but my voice perhaps was not strong enough to get the right attention. That is why we are now in this situation of the Cyprus Grass Snake is on the brink of extinction on this island. Let’s hope it is not too late.”
- The Cyprus Grass Snake is now extinct at Xyliatos and Paralimni Lake
- It is endangered in the Troodos Foothills and facing probable extinction
- No captive breeding programme has been established
The Cyprus Government obviously does not realise this and every effort must now be made to save The Cyprus Grass Snake by campaigning in Europe.
George is currently visiting Paralimni Lake to investigate the conservation actions that the Cyprus Government has taken very recently to avoid being fined by the EU. The problem is that this was too little, too late and there are no Cyprus Grass Snakes left at this location.
The Cyprus Reptile Society will send George’s report to the EU Commission.
George’s 2005 Report is here
For the record:
NOT ONE OF THE CYPRUS MEP’s or any DEPUTY has replied to letters sent to them by Snake George
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