SPNL’s Anti-Poaching Unit, In A Nutshell!
Despite the continued international COVID-19 pandemic, from one hand, and the increasing economic crisis that Lebanon is facing, leading to a dramatic increase in living costs, on the other, the SPNL Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) was able to maintain and increase its presence on ground through its patrolling activities, communication with local authorities and partnerships with Internal Security Forces (ISF).
APU was able to act and stop illegal killing through direct field activities, where over 1 Km of mist nets were removed from various blackspots in Lebanon, primarily Iklim El Kharoub, Barja, Tachaa, and Batroun. APU coordinated with the ISF. In addition to bird traps in Hammana and Shouf area. As well, awareness sessions on sustainable hunting and hunting law were done to various stakeholders, being hunters and local authorities.
Moreover, APU has worked with governmental bodies and local authorities for the release of three Egyptian Vultures held in captivity within a zoo in the South of Lebanon.
Parallel to this, as part of APU’s work to bridge and build partnerships, APU has met with the Minister of Environment general director of the Internal Security Forces General Imad Othman to solidify existing coordination among both parties. Furthermore, APU has agreed with Denniyeh mayor and council on establishing a bird observation site, at the place where it was considered to be a “graveyard” for migratory birds. Same as, APU has declared with Aghbeh municipal council, Aghbe a safe area and passage along the bird flyway, for it was considered to be an IKB area. Just as, APU has met with various local authorities and governmental bodies, alongside sustainable hunters in Ghosta to discuss the Lebanese Hunting Law and its implementation on the ground, with the plan to increase efforts among the various parties to reduce the illegal killing of birds (IKB).
APU’s has expanded as well to rescue birds that are in need of medical care such as the various storks saved from being sold on the black market, or from the community members who reported such cases of injured birds. On an international level, APU was asked to follow up on the tagged Black Stork “Timo”, who showed no movement for several days, yet turned out that it was resting and continued its migratory path south.
Finally, APU has capacitated its staff members with hands-on training on field Basic-Life Support (BLS) for injured birds, with the APU consultant Dr. Abdo Kallasi, in order to properly and effectively intervene in cases of injured birds. This approach led to the proper care to various migratory soaring birds, that were released afterward due to adequate preliminary intervention and medical care from APU’s team. This step will be continued with further training and discussion with BSPB in regards to BLS and clinical care of birds.
These conservation acts, in addition to others, would not be possible without the support of CABS, MAVA, MSB, and Egyptian Vulture New LIFE project, for the continuous support and collaboration to better serve nature for peace.