In the context of BirdLife International’s Migratory Soaring Birds project, which is supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the project to combat the illegal killing of birds with the support of the MAVA Foundation, SPNL has participated in activities aimed at combating illegal hunting in the Qoubaiyat region of North Lebanon. This happened in cooperation between the ISF police station in Qoubaiyat and the anti-poaching unit in the Middle-East Sustainable Hunting Centre (MESHC) and the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities, leading to the arrest of two hunters whose initials are F.N. (Born 1986, Lebanese) and – M. U. (Born 1989, Lebanese) respectively, in the district of Jard Al-Qobayat /Al-Shanbouq for violating the Hunting Law No. 580
Their offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to one month and a fine equivalent to five hundred thousand Lebanese pounds, or one of the two penalties separately. In addition, they may have their hunting licenses revoked between one and three years, something that applies to all who hunt outside the season, as well as those who hunt outside the times during which hunting is allowed. The two offenders had been caught red-handed, with ten migrating birds they had already caught, whose hunting is specifically prohibited. A seizure report was drawn up, in addition to the confiscation of two hunting rifles along with ammunition.
The environment minister in the caretaker government, Damianus Kattar, announced the duration of the wild hunting season as being from September 15, 2020, until February 15, 2021.
It has been decided that the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) will accompany the hunting season with a number of awareness campaigns and the reporting of hunters who violate the law, whether it be hunting in areas where hunting is forbidden, or hunting of bird species whose hunting is not permitted, especially migrating birds. This will take place in cooperation with SPNL’s local and international partners, of which the most notable is CABS – Committee Against Bird Slaughter (Komitee gegen den Vogelmord in German).
Birds migrate along flyways in many countries and continents. SPNL, the Lebanon partner of Birdlife International works with its partners to protect migrating birds along the flyways –
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Each year in autumn and spring, millions of migratory birds are caught or are simply shot as they fly to and from their wintering grounds. In Lebanon, conservationists from all over the world are increasingly successful in putting the poachers out of business with the help of local police. Even during the night and undercover, they collect evidence against irresponsible hunters and criminal poachers. Shotguns are being confiscated and trapping nets and equipment are being destroyed. Dozens of songbirds and birds of prey that would have ended up as trophies or as “delicacies” can be released into the wild again to continue their journey.
The efforts undertaken so far have borne fruit in limiting the human threat to migrating birds in their wintering location, where they reproduce, as well as the places where they rest and measures have been taken to protect birds by combatting poaching in all the hunting hotspots along the flyway of migrating birds over Lebanese territory.