Bird trapping in Lebanon
Warblers, swallows and other songbirds are a popular delicacy in Lebanon. Besides shooting, industrialised trapping with huge nets and limesticks is also a very big problem. Bird trapping is most concentrated in the region around Baalbek in the northern Bekaa plain and village/coastal areas in the south of the country.
Large mist nets are used, which are often set along with electronic decoy callers in large professionally operated trapping sites. Limesticks are also often used to catch songbirds. Everything that passes by is simply caught. Warblers such as blackcaps and whitethroats are officially the most popular birds - for eating, but shrikes, redstarts, thrushes, flycatchers and much more die in the traps and nets of poachers. Goldfinches and other finches are not killed, but sold to "bird lovers" - the market for goldfinches is gigantic in Lebanon.
Work against illegal bird-trapping in Lebanon has been difficult so far. Although we have found and dismantled traps and nets several times during our bird protection camps. Since 2018 together with our partners from MESHC Anti-Poaching Unit and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) we have managed to catch the poachers together with the authorities. Generally speaking, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces are paying more attention to the illegal shooting of large birds such as storks or birds of prey. However, despite all the covid restrictions and other security issues within the country, a number of successful operations have been conducted with the authorities in recent months shutting down dozens of trapping sites and dismantling hundreds of metres of illegal trapping nets.
We also recently succeeded in getting some supermarket chains to remove frozen warblers from their shelves.