Darayya village in Danniyeh is now the site of a Birdwatching

After 4 years of joint efforts between the Society of Supporters of the Environment, the hunters of Danniyeh district, and local conservationists, together with the Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) of the Middle East Sustainable Hunting Center (MESHC) and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) in partnership with the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) and in cooperation with the Internal Security Forces (ISF) the area of Darayya village was able to move beyond the stigma of being a graveyard of migratory birds, as it was once known, and to announce the establishment of an international center for birdwatching, after the hunters have committed to protecting the bird migration corridor, the reduction of night hunting by 80%, and due to continuous monitoring by the security forces. In a ceremony attended by Colonel Milad Nasrallah, representing the director general of the Internal Security Forces, Major General Imad Othman and other senior officers. The ceremony was also attended by CABS Director Axel Khrushveld, head of the Society of Supporters of the Environment Mohamad Fatfat, MESHC President Adonis Khatib, APU head Shirine Bou Raffoul, and the mayor of Ezel municipality, Ahmed Radwan, as well as a number of sustainable hunters.

Mr. Fatfat spoke about the importance of the Darayya region as an important global corridor for migratory birds and the crimes that were being committed there before, and pointed to the very positive transformation that has taken place over the past four years, via cooperation with CABS, the APU, the MESHC and SPNL, as well as the security forces, and the necessity of continuing with this work, because Lebanon is considered the second most important bird migration flyway in the world.

For his part, MESHC president Adonis Khatib said that what we are witnessing today is a dream come true, something we were not sure would materialize, as Darayya used to be a graveyard for migrating birds, but because of Mr. Fatfat’s efforts, a group of Danniyeh hunters and environmental activists, in cooperation with CABS, APU, MESHC, and SPNL. Khatib pointed to the close cooperation between the unit and the security forces, as the unit, in cooperation with groups of sustainable hunters, documents violations of the hunting law and sends them to the security forces, who then quickly move to stop and deter these acts.

The mayor of the neighboring village of Ezel spoke of his readiness for maximum cooperation between Ezel municipal police, the APU, and the security forces to protect the bird migration corridor, and expressed his joy at the center’s opening.

In her speech, APU head Sherine Bou Raffoul, spoke about the importance of the sustainable hunter in protecting nature and combating poaching, and pointed out that the unit had established a first aid department for migratory birds to save them from death, as the hunter is now not just a fighter against poaching, but rather a helper and rescuer of birds, stressing that this is the culture of the real, sustainable hunter. Bou Raffoul also translated the speech of CABS director Mr. Axel Kirschfield, who thanked Major General Othman for his efforts to protect the migration corridor, and also the continuous efforts of Mr. Mohammad Fatfat.
Kirschfield pointed out that he toured with his team and did not see any dead migratory birds, saying that this is an important achievement for Lebanon. He also pointed out that night hunting has decreased by 90 percent, and that he hopes that it will be eradicated and that hunting will be practiced according to the law.

Colonel Nasrallah also conveyed the greetings of Major General Othman to the participants and his affirmation of support for any work that serves the country’s environment, as well as expressing the willingness of the security forces to deter any violations. This project is implemented with the support of the EV New LIFE project, under the EU fund.

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