Lebanese Police Arrest 6 Bird Poachers in Western Bekaa

Published September 17th, 2018 - 09:04 GMT
A man in camouflage and with guns in a forest belt on a spring hunt. (Shutterstock/ File Photo)
A man in camouflage and with guns in a forest belt on a spring hunt. (Shutterstock/ File Photo)

Security forces over the weekend arrested six men for hunting in a reserve area in Western Bekaa after being alerted of the poaching activities by NGOs, a security source said Sunday.

The arrests took place Saturday night, after the men shot at birds at Lake Qaraoun – an area where hunting is forbidden. The source said the suspects had since been released pending investigation, based on consultations with an environmental public prosecutor. The source confirmed the arrests were a result of violations of the Hunting Law and for possession of unlicensed weapons.

Authorities were alerted to the presence of poachers following a joint operation in the area by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, the Middle East Sustainable Hunting Center and the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS), a Germany-based organization currently on an anti-poaching mission in Lebanon.

CABS operations officer Axel Hirschfeld told The Daily Star that Claudine Aoun Roukoz, an adviser to President Michel Aoun, had personally intervened with the Lebanese Army in order to secure the arrests.

CABS came to Lebanon last year on a similar mission, during which it uncovered the killings of hundreds of protected birds.

Hirschfeld said there had been little change in the past year.

“We still experience on a daily basis that the Hunting Law only exists on paper,” he said, adding that implementation of the law was hampered both by the lax actions of security forces and a lack of knowledge on the part of hunters about which species were protected. “Many hunters really do not seem to know the concept of a species; they differentiate only between big birds and small birds,” Hirschfeld said. “It’s an international conservation concern.”

Lebanon is a major bird migration corridor, with millions of birds traversing its airspace twice a year – from breeding grounds in Europe to Africa in the fall, and back north in the spring.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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