Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e.V. Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e. V.
Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

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Lesser Spotted Eagle Poaching in Lebanon

CABS staff with illegally shot lesser spotted eagle
CABS staff with illegally shot lesser spotted eagle

In Lebanon, many endangered migratory bird species are illegally shot in large numbers. The poaching is particularly dramatic for the lesser spotted eagle, because with around just 100 breeding pairs it is one of the rarest birds of prey in Germany. Its population in the northeast of the republic is protected with great effort and considerable use of taxpayers' money. As migratory birds, they have to cross the "eye of the needle" of Lebanon twice every year. And it's not just the pairs from Germany that are affected - the entire global population of the species (estimated at 60,000 individuals) pass through the Lebanese Mountains twice every year. How many lesser spotted eagles are shot in the process is difficult to say. Based on the material gathered so far by the CABS and our partners, we estimate that the number per year averages in the mid-four digits - about 5% of all individuals of the species worldwide!

Lesser spotted eagles are unable to compensate for losses due to direct human persecution in the short term due to their low reproductive rates. In addition, the birds do not reach sexual maturity until the fourth or fifth calendar year, so they must successfully cross Lebanon and southern Turkey (where shooting of lesser spotted eagles is also widespread) at least six times before the first egg is even in the eyrie! The key point here is that even assuming a shooting rate of "only" 5% per year, many Lesser spotted eagles will not live long enough to provide enough offspring to sustain the population.