he Lebanese Minister of the Interior and Municipalities, Ria Haffar El Hassan, has penned a letter to the General Directorate of the Internal Security Forces (enforcement agency) asking for urgent measures to facilitate the implementation of the law of hunting in Lebanon. “Lebanon is positioned along one of the worlds most important corridors for bird migration and these birds belong to the skies of all the countries through which they pass.” The letter highlights that Lebanon is a signatory to several international conventions in relation to bird conservation; and raises concerns regarding the continued illegal shooting of protected species and illegal trapping which is leading to the demise of millions of birds each year. Hassan states there is an urgent need to develop an action plan to facilitate the implementation of the hunting law and requested the security forces take the following actions:
1 – provide all stations and officers with copies of the hunting law (12 quarry species only in open season) and circulate the open and closed times as specified by the Ministry of the Environment. (from 1/9/2019 to 15/2/2020, during the day exclusively).
2 – Instruct all stations on all Lebanese territories to tighten the application of the law including implementation of the immediate response to complaints from citizens in this regard.
3 – The resources of the Internal Security Forces should be allocated permanently and effectively in known ‘hotspot areas’ during the periods of wild bird migration for protected species such as white storks, pelicans and birds of prey. Also allocate enforcement teams immediately in the following areas to protect migratory birds in spring: – Hailan – Kafrhbo – Sir al-Dniyah in the north (allocation of two stations). Line of Qaraoun – deep in the Bekaa (allocation of two stations)
4 – Assignment of Colonel Jihad Saliba (representative of the Ministry of the Interior and Municipalities of the Supreme Council for Wild Fisheries) to coordinate with the concerned officials of relevant Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and civilians in order to provide the Directorate General of the Internal Security Forces with the necessary information to implement the hunting law, and an assess confirmed incidents in order to continuously improve the work plan.
5 – instruct the Internal Security Forces, in general, and the Dahr al-Baydar checkpoint in particular, to conduct spot checks of hunting licenses for the owners of the weapons especially in October and November of each year; But that specialists from the relevant environmental associations could be consulted, if necessary, to determine whether the birds caught from the catch were allowed to be caught.
6 – The prosecution and punishment of anyone who manufactures and imports unauthorized trapping paraphernalia and the materials used to illegally trap, hold, kill and trade birds.