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Birds massacred in Lebanon - Unfettered hunting a disgrace

21/11/2012 12:35:58

Two pelicans that have been shot in Lebanon being proudly displayed.

Birds of all shapes and sizes killed in their thousands - Our thanks to the Lebanon Eco Movement for their help with this article.
November 2012. We have been contacted by someone from Lebanon who wants to highlight the terrible situation there, where birds are shot indiscriminately in there thousands. As Lebanon is at the cross roads between Europe, Asia and Africa, many of the birds are killed while migrating to and from their breeding grounds.

Hunting in Lebanon banned in 1995
The environmental situation in Lebanon is very chaotic. Hunting was banned by a law issued in 1995, and this law is still in force, though almost totally ignored. A new hunting law was agreed in 2004, but has never been implemeneted. There is no enforcement of this law, and some believe that Lebanon should go back to the pre-1995 situation where hunting was legal, but regulated by season and species. There are, as everywhere, repsonsible hunters too, but the irresponsible shooters are giving Lebanon a terrible reputation.

Species that were hunted 

It can be hard to tell, but just from these images it appears that the species below have been targetted. Our thanks to our friends at Bird Watching magazine for help with some of the ID.

  • White Stork
  • White Pelican
  • Common Crane
  • Griffon Vulture
  • Hobby
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Lesser Spotted Eagle
  • Steppe Eagle

Almost all birds hunted.
The fashion is that the hunters seem to boast about their kills, and the bigger, the rarer and the larger the number the better as far as they are concerned.

Lebanese Eco Movement
The Lebanese Eco Movement says "All kinds of birds are being hunted, and most of hunters are indifferent to the matter of protected birds. We are witnessing the murder of many protected birds, mainly soaring birds (aquatic birds and raptors), including pelicans, storks, cranes, raptors."

"As for the birds that can be hunted, there is no respect for the numbers and limits. We are witnessing birds being killed in thousands. A single hunter may kill more than one thousand birds. Hunters are of all ages; they may be as young as 10, even though Lebanese law prohibits holding weapons for ages less than 18."

"Hunting mainly takes place during weekends, but hunters can be seen any day of the week, at any place, even inside cities and between houses."

Griffon vulture proudly displayed by a hunter in Lebanon.

Griffon vulture proudly displayed by a hunter in Lebanon.

This massacre is of worldwide importance and especially for Europe as most migrating birds passing through Lebanon are moving from Europe towards Africa or vice versa. It's very sad and discouraging to see birds that are protected in Europe by thousands of activists, hundreds of organizations, and millions of dollars, being murdered in Lebanon without any action from the government, and without any pressure from the European countries.

Lebanon is facing a huge problem yet the Minister of the Environment does not appear to be taking any action at all.

The images we have illustrate the wide variety of birds that have been killed. As well as the vulture and pelicans, scroll down to see some of the carnage, including storks, cranes, many raptors including eagles, and hundreds and hundreds of smaller birds.

Whilst we know that the Middle East is in turmoil at the moment, and that protecting birds will not be high on the agenda of many countries, but this senseless slaughter will have dire consequences for the local environment as well as for many of the bird populations of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.


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