Libanon – 22. 09. 2022
Lebanon “bird of prey slaughter site” discovered - three poachers apprehended
Three bird of prey poachers were apprehended by the Lebanese police in Akkar on Wednesday morning thanks to the efforts of anti-poaching activists taking part in an international campaign to protect migratory birds in Lebanon.
The Lebanese and international activists from CABS (Committee Against Bird Slaughter), SPNL (Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon) Lebanon and MESHC (Middle East Sustainable Hunting Center) carried out an operation in the Akkar district of northern Lebanon close to the Syrian border Wednesday morning. Near the village of Memnaa, a notorious illegal hunting ‘hotspot’, the conservationists filmed several birds of prey being shot down and contacted the police. When the police arrived the teams caught three poachers red-handed with remains of over 40 protected birds of prey including Lesser Spotted Eagle, Honey Buzzards, Levant Sparrow Hawks, Kestrels and Common Buzzard.
This apprehension is significant for wild bird conservation in Europe because Akkar district in Northern Lebanon is on a globally significant migratory flyway and the area has long been a notorious spot for the slaughter of protected migratory birds belonging to species of conservation concern. Footage of the operation has been uploaded on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrKkIdUzKzU
"We work with local sustainable hunters, such as MESHC, in Lebanon and prioritise dialogue over confrontation. However, when faced with such blatant disregard for nature and laws, we are obliged to take legal action as we did this morning" said Lloyd Scott, CABS campaigns & operations officer, who was on the site in Akkar together with the ISF. Lebanon is on one of the most important migratory flyways in the world. A conservative estimate puts the number of migratory birds illegally killed in Lebanon each year at 2.6 million(1) . "Spending hundreds of millions of euros in Europe to protect these birds becomes meaningless when they are slaughtered as they fly over Lebanon" concluded Mr. Scott.
The conservationists have started their operations in Lebanon a couple of weeks ago and will continue to monitor illegal hunting during peak migration in different parts of the country. Teams have been working closely with the Lebanese Security Forces and have already carried out successful operations against illegal nets (used to trap birds) in Barja illegal shooting in Eghbe on Mount Lebanon and raptor trapping in the Beqaa Valley over the last couple of weeks.