A hawk attacks a rabbit. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

New Signatory to CMS Raptors MoU: Lebanon

Lebanon signed the CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MoU). This brings the total number of Signatories to 49.
Lebanon is critically important country for many species of migratory birds of prey. Lebanon’s signature to the CMS Raptors MoU is a welcome and highly positive sign that strengthens international coordinated efforts to conserve migratory birds of prey in Eurasia and Africa” said Assad Serhal, SPNL general director.
At least 37 species listed under the Raptors MoU occur in Lebanon. Of those, the Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) is ‘Endangered’, and both the Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga) and Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) are classified ‘Vulnerable’ by IUCN.
Lebanon hosts over 50% of the species covered by the Raptors MoU. We hope that the Lebanese government will launch a strategy to implement the Action Plan of the MoU. We are looking forward to extending our collaboration to all Range States and partners to protect this spectacular group of birds.

A tame golden eagle catches a rabbit during an annual hunting competition outside Almaty

More than a million and half of birds of prey migrate through Lebanon each spring and autumn. As these are mostly large birds most are classified as soaring birds. This means we tend to see them in large flocks spiraling over head. Indeed Lebanon is hugely important for the conservation of these magnificent birds as so many pass through. It is estimated that as many as 150,000 Lesser Spotted Eagles migrate through Lebanon annually, a very large proportion of the world’s population. Not only are they amazing to see but they also perform an important function in the environment – controlling pests such as rats, mice and rabbits.

Birds of prey roam far. They are at the top of the food chain and are therefore important for functional ecosystems. By signing the Raptors MoU, Lebanon, a small country in the middle east, has demonstrated its commitment to help in protecting these species within an international framework” said Dr. Saleem Hamadeh, the National Project Manager of The Migratory Soaring Birds project (MSB). MSB Lebanon is hosted by the Ministry of Environment. It is technically supported by BirdLife’s partner in Lebanon, the Society for Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL).

International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD) is celebrated each year on the first Saturday in September. Its aim is to publicise the threats faced by Vultures throughout the world to a wider audience and to highlight the important work being carried out by conservationists. Find out more on IVAD website.


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