Members of the Akrotiri Environmental and Education Centre and the Cyprus Game Fund, released two pelicans on the salt-lake last week after they had landed close to the RAF Akrotiri runway in November.
The birds – one of which had sustained injuries – were given time to leave the area but after two hours, the environmental team removed the birds, assessed them and they were subsequently taken to the game Fund’s rehabilitation Centre in Nicosia.
After two months of treatment and rest, the birds were back to full-strength and taken back to the salt-lake to be released. Speaking this week, Thomas Hadjikyriakou, the manager of the Environmental Centre, said this was standard procedure when releasing birds back into the wild. He explained: “When a bird is released it is common practice to do that as close to the original location in which they were found. So, as they were found in RAF Akrotiri, the most obvious place to release them would be the salt-lake.” This latest release in conjunction with the game Fund once again highlights the close working relationship the two organisations enjoy.
 
“We have a very good, professional relationship,” Mr Hadjikyriakou said. “We work with the Game Fund on a daily basis, covering research, management and anti-poaching operations and they are a very professional organisation. They have a much larger team than we do and we rely on them for support in situations like this and we are very happy with how it works.”
This month marks the start of a very busy period for the Environmental Centre, with school visits and educational seminars occupying much of the calendar year – something which the team enjoy undertaking.
Mr Hadjikyriakou continued: “We are now fully booked with school visits for the rest of the year and that will mean we have about 70 children coming through our doors every day, which is great.
“During those visits they will be given the opportunity to undertake field work and get a good look at the rare flora and fauna that we have in and around the centre and on the Salt Lake.
“Helping our children understand the importance of environmental protection is key to sustaining these rare habitats and our team at the centre play a big role in ensuring that happens.
“We are very lucky that we have a wonderful botanical garden in Akrotiri and over the coming months we will be enriching that even more to ensure that we protect many species.”
And in a final message, he said: “I would anyone with an interest in the environment to come along to the centre and take a look around, the more people that take an interest in our environment, the better chance we have of protecting it for future generations.”