Three Egyptian vultures rescued from a zoo in Lebanon

Based on documented information from the Lebanese Wildlife Society about the presence of three endangered Egyptian vulture birds, The bird rescue department at the Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) acted directly and conducted a confiscation operation in a zoo in southern Lebanon where the birds were kept illegally in captivity. The birds were rescued from the zoo, where they will undergo a comprehensive veterinary examination in preparation for their rehabilitation and return to nature.
The Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) of the Middle East Sustainable Hunting Center (MESHC) and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) is working in partnership with the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS).


This sensitive task was carried out in coordination with the Minister of Environment, Nasser Yassin, the Environmental Prosecutor in the South, Judge Raheef Ramadan, the General Directorate of the Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese Army – the Intelligence Directorate in the South, the President of the National Commission for Women’s Affairs and the Special Assistant to His Excellency the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun for Environmental Affairs, Claudine Aoun Roukoz, WWF Italia, lawyer Adnan Al-Labban, environmental activist Ghina Nahfawi.

It is worth noting that the Anti-Poaching Unit and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon rescued a bird of this type about a year ago, which had been injured in the Al-Dawwar area in Mount Lebanon, a female Egyptian eagle called “Anahita”. Today it is located in the “Luke Hoffmann” Center for the Rehabilitation of Birds of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon in the Kayfoun region.

The Egyptian Vulture is one of the few bird species to use tools, using pebbles to hammer open eggs as large as an Ostrich’s. It is celebrated in the folklore of many cultures, having been admired throughout history for its intelligence, striking yellow face and white plumage.

The ancient Egyptians worshipped it as a symbol of the goddess Isis and immortalised its silhouette as a hieroglyph in their writing. But the sacred bird of the Pharaohs now faces extinction.

The Egyptian Vulture is Europe’s only long-distance migratory vulture. Flying up to 640 km per day, it can travel 5000 km when migrating between its European breeding sites and its wintering grounds at the southern edge of the Sahara.

On this epic journey across three continents, the Egyptian Vulture meets one danger after another. Those that escape being electrocuted by powerlines or poisoned by lethal farming chemicals may still fall victim to illegal shooting. The European population alone has fallen by up to 50% in the last 50 years, and the Balkan population has decreased by 80% in the last 30 years.

Illegal wildlife trafficking is also a big problem. In the Balkans – where only 70 pairs of Egyptian Vultures remain – young chicks and eggs are stolen from some of the most important breeding sites on the African-Eurasian flyway. Older birds are illegally poached and stuffed as ‘trophies’ for sale on the Western European black market.

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, Birdlife International’s partner in Lebanon, works at the national, regional and international levels with a number of projects specialized in this field, including Mainstreaming Conservation of Migratory Soaring Birds into Key Productive Sectors along the Rift Valley/Red Sea Flyway funded by GEF Trust Fund
and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme and Birdlife International, and the Egyptian vulture Conservation Project. Return of the Neophron The “Egyptian Vulture New LIFE” Project, funded by the European Union, as well as the Safe Migration Routes for Birds in the Mediterranean project, funded by the Swiss Foundation MAVA and implemented by BirdLife International.

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