Dozens of endangered falcons shot in Cyprus

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NICOSIA, Oct 24 (Reuters) Fifty-eight endangered falcons have been shot dead in Cyprus, a wildlife conservationist group said today.

The red-footed falcons had probably been shot as target practice, Birdlife International's Martin Hellicar said.

''This is ecological vandalism in its worst form,'' Hellicar, the group's manager for Cyprus, said.

''These birds are classified as globally near-threatened.

That is as endangered as things get.'' The birds, along with spent cartridges normally used in clay pigeon shooting, were found on October 4 in the south-west of the island.

Cyprus is an important migratory route for birds.

Conservationists estimate about 100 million migratory birds pass over the Mediterranean island to and from continental Europe each year.

REUTERS SG HT1642

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