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(C) Irina Tikhomirova

Save The Last Turtle Sanctuary In Hima Qoleileh and Mansouri

Mansouri and Qolaila beaches are two of the most beautiful and clean beaches in Lebanon and are also well protected turtle reserves by local community initiative.

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon announced this high marine biodiversity area, a Hima, on 13 December 2006 for Hima Qolaili and 16 February 2008 for Hima Mansouri, to protect the southern Lebanese coast and its terrestrial and marine resources, especially globally threatened sea turtles (Green Turtles and Leatherback Turtles). It covers an area of approximately eight thousand square meters, by which its seashore provides the possibility of turtle and birdwatching.

SPNL also collaborated with the Orange House Project to help protecting the threatened sea turtles. This project was founded in 1999 and works for the protection and conservation of sea turtles. Their work has been threatened however by several violations, with the latest being taking down an iron fence to build kiosks and restaurants for a women-only beach.

Unfortunately, this beach faces a great danger. It has been several years that this natural zone suffers from multiple aggressions: sand theft, municipal waste discharge, installing walls, construction works, all of which constitute a pernicious cancer that is slowly destroying one of the last sanctuaries of the coastline. The most recent attack was the work of developers who took away an iron fence to build a concrete wall to mount kiosks and restaurants to create a beach.

It is worth noting that those sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach where they were born. The disappearance or alteration of those sites modifies the turtles’ behavior and drastically reduces their birth rate, further exacerbating their endangered status.

It is the ecological importance and value of this beach, which has pressed Mona Khalil and other defenders to protect it with a ranking of “Hima”-community based conservation area. “One should not believe that a “Hima” is not subject to rules and procedures similar to those laws of nature reserves”, she says. All of the presidents of the surrounding municipal councils have signed a commitment to protect the beach. But when we remind them, they laugh at us, claiming that no law is applied in this country.”… A bitter reality that even the officials do not want to change.

It is everyone’s duty to participate in the improvement of not only our country, but also in the protection of our natural resources which do not belong to one country but to the entire planet. The region’s last turtle and marine species sanctuary is in danger!

Help us protect this site and push local governments to respect the Hima decision and protect it as part of the local natural heritage.

Help us protect this site and push the Ministry of Environment to ensure that the Environmental Impact Assessments decree is respected and the developmental proposals are environmentally sound and sustainable.

It is up to us to make a difference and rebuke the gossips and cynics, who view everything as a lost cause in Lebanon.

A Documentary On Sea Turtles In Lebanon

This is a short documentary prepared by Lena Hamady on sea turtles in Lebanon and what we can do to save them. Watch and spread the message!

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