Earlier this year the Lebanese Interior Minister Raya El Hassan sent a memo to the head of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces setting out a series of ‘urgent measures’ in order for the agency to crack down on illegal poaching.
These measures included training of the law to all agency employees (permitted species, times and materials), vehicle stops, license checks on equipment and strategic stationing in areas such as Qaraoun Lake in the Bekaa Valley which are essential for protected migratory birds. This year’s hunting season of 12 legal game species began 1st September and will run until 15th February 2020.
In recent weeks the Internal Security Forces have been proactive in enforcing the hunting law 580 and secured more than 2 dozen arrests for hunting violations; including the shooting of protected species, un-registered weapons, use of illegal decoys and illegal trapping with nets. They have also launched a media campaign calling on members of the public, hunters and environmental NGOs to report incidents of illegal poaching. The significance of bird migration in Lebanon and the requirement for strict sustainable hunting controls is increasingly accepted as common knowledge and practice. Appreciation for nature conservation, birdwatching, and wildlife photography is growing.
Next week the third autumn bird protection camp in Lebanon will begin. The planned operations will be larger and more extensive than ever before. Together Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) with Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, Association for Bird Conservation in Lebanon (ABCL) and the Middle East Sustainable Hunting Center (MESHC) several teams will monitor the bottleneck areas of migration and document and report cases of illegal shooting and trapping. The camp will also run for longer than previous years, covering the peak migration for species of conservation concern such as Lesser Spotted Eagle.