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Bird protection camps in the Lebanon
CABS & SPNL joint operation “Safe Haven”

The bigger the better – shot Griffon Vulture (Source: FacebookThe bigger the better – shot Griffon Vulture (Source: Facebook Shooting or trapping protected species is a selfish passion which is vandalizing the common natural heritage of all people in the Mediterranean, Africa and Europe. Recent studies have revealed that – among other countries – the Lebanon is one of the hotspots of this problem. None has the exact numbers but recent studies estimate that between two and three million migratory birds are shot down or trapped in the Lebanon each year with more than 290 species being affected.

Most of the birds killed by Lebanese poachers belong to migratory species of international conservation concern. These birds breed in Europe, where considerable resources and efforts are put into protecting the last remaining breeding pairs. These efforts are undermined, if the birds don’t come back because they get killed along their migration route.

Since 2012 CABS, together with our partners from the Society for the Protection of Nature in the Lebanon (SPNL), the Lebanon Eco Movement (LEM) and other NGOs have started an awareness campaign which included several international publications about the problem as well as various local events to educate hunters and children about the value of birds and their vulnerability.

Lesser Spotted Eagle: Threatened with extinction in Europe – a moving target for hunters in the LebanonLesser Spotted Eagle: Threatened with extinction in Europe – a moving target for hunters in the LebanonThis September (2017) we will go yet another step further and challenge the poachers in the field. CABS experts from France, Turkey, Germany, Italy and the UK are joining Lebanese conservationists from the Society for the Protection of Nature in the Lebanon (SPNL) to monitor bird migration and illegal hunting in the Lebanese countryside this September. Our plan is to have two teams out in the field each day with one local and three international experts in each team. The principal aims of the operation are the documentation of acts of illegal hunting as well as the deterrence of potential law-breakers by a regular presence of the teams in the main hunting ‘hotspots’ such as the coastal front of the Jbeil region and to a lesser extent the Beqaa area and along the mid-heights of the western slopes of Mount Lebanon. Each group of observers will be equipped with video cameras, binoculars and powerful spotting scopes. All incidents of shooting or trapping of protected bird species will be filmed. and the footage will be passed on the police as evidence to ensure that the poachers can be prosecuted. Thanks to the support of the Lebanese government, especially the Ministry of Environment, each team will be accompanied by police officers.

“Our aim is to collect data on the bird migration over the Lebanon with a special focus on the influence of illegal hunting on different bird species, especially storks and birds of prey”, SPNL´s CEO Assad Serhal said adding that all acts of poaching observed by the teams will be reported to the police and the Ministry of the Environment in Beirut. Operation Safe Haven is supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Lebanese Ministry of Environment, the Special Advisor to President Michel Aoun, Mrs. Claudine Aoun Roukoz, Bioland Lebanon and local hunting organisations.