Update on Paralimni Lake and the Cyprus Grass Snake
“The situation is so bad in Paralimni, that the only way is to take the Grass Snake from there…. if there are any still there…. and start the breeding program. But when will this happen? Maybe it’s already too late, but I have done all I can and hope that it is not too late.” Snake George – September 2010
George has sent the following report to the Cyprus Government
The situation with the grass snake in Paralimni Lake in 1995 was a big problem from the beginning. Around the lake and also in the lake there was many tons of rubbish of all sorts, the worst being car batteries and other batteries.
The second problem was the hunting area which still exists. Farmers were using the water from the lake which reduced the water level. Then about twelve years ago, the Motor Cross started on the lake. The hunters were there all the time and I don’t know how many grass snakes they killed.
In the winter people were unable to use the lake because it was too swampy and the snakes had a better chance to live safely.
I have contacted many people and as a member of the Green Party I spoke many times with George Perdikis and I also had a chance to speak in Parliament, also about Xyliatos Dam. They always make promises but unfortunately, only promises. The situation became worse but it was not possible for me to do the observation at Xyliatos because I was unable to finance this any more.
There were many articles in the newspapers which I kept. There were radio interviews and reports from the TV stations. I have at least 500 photos from Xyliatos Dam and 500 from Paralimni.
My fight to stop fishing in the Xyliatos Dam was a success. Although the Government decided to ban fishing at Xyliatos Dam, but the people ignored this law.
Now after three years, I decided to return to Paralimni to see what is going on. First of all I was surprised to see around the little lake where there is water, that is was quite clean. That doesn’t mean to say that the area of the lake was clean. There is lots of rubbish there, and even where they have cleaned up, new rubbish has appeared. When I was looking around the small lake there were many, many dead fish in and out of the water. There were millions of mosquito fish trying to get oxygen, and I don’t know how many of these die every day.
I observed some marsh frogs as well.
There were an enormous amount of cartridge shells lying around the waters edge. We also found dead birds shot by the hunters.
On Wednesday 8th Sept, I was with friends when we saw three hunters. One wanted to take some photos of them but one of the hunters said to him “You have a camera, I have a gun” and then pointed the gun at him who felt threatened and decided not to take a photo, but as he walked away the hunter fired the gun over his head.
Good advertising for Cyprus when he returns to Switzerland. One of our party managed to take some photos from a distance. We decided to leave immediately because we felt that we were in a very dangerous situation as they carried on shooting around us.
For many years they promised to make this a fauna game reserve area, but unfortunately the authorities from Paralimni support the hunters.
The situation with the grass snake is that I could see no sign of them, or any tracks left by them. The whole environment around the lake has changed for the worst. I would not be surprised if the grass snake at Paralimni has disappeared altogether. If there are a small number of grass snake there, it is only a question of time until they disappear for ever.
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