03/09/2015 07:58 EDT | Updated 05/09/2015 05:59 EDT

Cyprus conservation group says illegal bird trapping is at 'record levels,' urges action

NICOSIA, Cyprus - A Cypriot conservation group says illegal trapping of birds has reached record levels and is urging authorities to adopt new regulations that will help combat the problem.

Birdlife Cyprus said Monday its surveillance program shows that as many as 2 million birds may have been killed across the island last fall, including inside two British sovereign military bases. Agency director Claire Papazoglou said that makes last year the worst since monitoring began in 2002.

Tiny, migratory songbirds have long been served as a delicacy at some Cypriot restaurants. But conservationists say the sticky lime sticks and mist nets used to trap birds are indiscriminate, resulting in the deaths of protected species.

Birdlife Cyprus says the government must immediately revive a dormant anti-poaching plan to curbing illegal trapping.