Bird shooting in Lebanon
Lebanon is one of the most important migration areas for millions of birds breeding in Europe. Almost all songbird species fly over the Middle East, as do storks and many birds of prey. The large-bird migration is particularly concentrated between Mediterranean in the west and Syrian desert in the east. Based on the data, evidence and video documentation collected so far by CABS and our Lebanese partners, it is estimated that millions of birds are shot in Lebanon every year, including hundreds of thousands of birds of prey and storks. The situation with the lesser spotted eagle is especially dramatic. Censuses have shown that virtually the entire world population of the lesser spotted eagle flies over Lebanon twice a year.
The main hotspots of illegal hunting are the mountain regions, where the migration of birds is enormously concentrated on so-called "bottlenecks" and where massacres take place on strong migration days. Many of the shot birds are shot to be eaten. Rarer species such as vultures or eagles are also sold alive at markets - provided they survive the shooting - or are stuffed by taxidermists and sold in hunting shops.
During our bird protection camps and Internet research, we attach a great emphasis to our our work against illegal killing of birds of prey and other large birds such as storks. Given their slower reproduction rates and smaller populations, the conservation impact of illegal hunting is having a more rapid negative effect on these species. Even though almost all songbirds have the same legal protection status as birds of prey or storks, the authorities have limited resources and have so far only intervened in the illegal hunting of large species, rather than in songbird poaching.
Bird of prey poaching
Although they are strictly protected also in Lebanon, birds of prey are one of the most popular targets of the hunters. The birds most affected are honey buzzards and lesser spotted eagles.
Lesser spotted eagle poaching
Poaching is particularly dramatic for the lesser spotted eagle: practically the entire world population of the species passes through the Lebanon Mountains, thousands are shot every year.
Every year we receive news of massacres of white storks. The large birds are easy prey for the poachers, especially near their roosts.
Song bird poaching
Almost every licensed hunter in Lebanon shoots songbirds - they are by far the most common prey in the country, although most species are protected.
Trophy hunters on social media
Lebanese poachers like to pose with their prey - the bigger the bigger in terms of species and numbers. The perpetrators brag about their kills online.
The Hunting Law
Lebanon has had a hunting law since 2017. 13 bird species are huntable, bird-trapping is forbidden, as is the use of electronic decoy callers.