Libanon – 08. 10. 2019 – Autor: Alexander Heyd
The frontline of Bird Conservation in Lebanon
Application of sustainable hunting and observations during the autumn CABS Bird Protection Camp 2019
Eghbe: Minister Fadi Jreissati (Minister of Environment), Ambassador Georg Birgelen (Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany), Ambassador Przemyslaw Niesiolowski (Embassy of the Republic of Poland), Ambassador Merete Juhl (Embassy of Denmark), Ambassador Marian Alexander Wrba (Austrian Embassy), Deputy Head of Mission, Mrs. Salina Grenet-Catalano (French Embassy), Mr. Jose Luis Vinuesa Santa Maria (Head of Section for Economy and Development of the EU delegation) and other diplomats visited the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) illegal hunting protection camp in Eghbe on October 8. Lebanon lies on one of the world’s most important bird migration routes. The CABS camp was set up in Lebanon to contribute to a reduction in the poaching of endangered/protected migratory species by improving law enforcement, documenting and exposing the poaching situation with the aim of increasing international pressure and to call on the Lebanese authorities to take urgent action to apply the hunting law. In 2017, CABS was first invited to Lebanon by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) through UNEP and CMS office – Germany. Since then, SPNL, CABS and the Middle East Sustainable Hunting Center (MESHC) have conducted bird monitoring camps in Lebanon with the direct support from the Lebanese President and his special advisor, Mrs. Claudine Aoun Roukoz and previous and current ministers of environment. This year, SPNL /MESCH introduced and accompanied CABS to Eghbe and other bottlenecks sites for migrating birds in Lebanon. The activists have observed an important improvement at the Eghbe/Chahtoul (Keserwan) bottleneck, thanks to the presence of CABS and ISF, namely Col. Saliba & Col. Musalim, and Environment prosecutors. Since the beginning of the season this year, total arrests reached 160 at the national level.
CABS estimates that illegal killing was down to 75% this autumn season at the Eghbe bottleneck. It is important to note that the interventions of CABS activists are conducted in collaboration with conservationists and responsible hunters. Partner organizations for the 2019 Monitoring Camp are SPNL, MESHC and ABCL (Association for Bird Conservation in Lebanon). This season a total of 38 large nets and 16 bird callers have been seized by CABS with the collaboration of ISF authorities, mainly in Barga (south of Lebanon). CABS praised the quick response of ISF and their pro-active operations as regards to trapping equipment in this region. Moreover CABS’ actions and reports to ISF have led to the arrest of 19 poachers and the confiscation of 16 shotguns.
Apart from these improvements, there is a lot left to do, especially in the region of Akkar and Dennieh. In these two regions, CABS and MESHC teams have observed that the situation is out of control in the field. Protected species of international concern are being shot in these areas daily, targeted by shooters of all ages that are gunning down everything with impunity. It is crucial to target these areas that are important bottlenecks during Bird Migration. CABS and their partners are urging the Lebanese authorities to take action on these remaining blackspots of illegal hunting. More patrols and ISF officers need to be sent to these areas. This would be the time to initiate a professional and dedicated WILDLIFE CRIME UNIT in Lebanon to conduct anti-poaching actions during bird of prey migration principally.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Telephone contact : 81 510 323 (CABS), 03 383 634 (ABCL), 76 055 458 (CABS), 01 343 740 (SPNL)