Lebanon skies a death trap for migratory birds: NGOs

1 / 3
Slaughtered birds of prey are displayed by activists from the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) at their birds observation camp in the village of Eghbe in the Lebanese mountains, northeast of Beirut, on October 8, 2019. (AFP)
2 / 3
Slaughtered birds of prey are displayed by activists from the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) at their birds observation camp in the village of Eghbe in the Lebanese mountains, northeast of Beirut, on October 8, 2019. (AFP)
3 / 3
Slaughtered birds of prey are displayed by activists from the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) at their birds observation camp in the village of Eghbe in the Lebanese mountains, northeast of Beirut, on October 8, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 08 October 2019

Lebanon skies a death trap for migratory birds: NGOs

  • For the 41 species in Lebanon listed as particularly endangered, “the situation is really critical”
  • Lebanon lies on one of the world’s most important bird migration routes

AGHBEH: Bird protection groups called Tuesday for urgent action to save endangered migratory species that are being decimated by illegal hunters over Lebanon.
For the 41 species in Lebanon listed as particularly endangered, “the situation is really critical,” said Fouad Itani, president of the Association for Bird Conservation in Lebanon.
“If nothing is done, their numbers will continue to drop and some species will simply disappear,” he told AFP.
According to official figures, 2.6 million birds from close to 200 species were killed illegally in the country in 2014. Itani believes the numbers killed have risen since then.
Lebanon lies on one of the world’s most important migration routes and for many species — such as storks, lesser spotted eagles and pelicans — the most dangerous part of their journey is flying over the small Mediterranean country.
“Hundreds of thousands of white storks are killed in Lebanon every year,” Itani said.
Bird protection groups have successfully raised awareness in some regions but the situation in the north remains “out of control,” according to a joint statement by the Association for Bird Conservation in Lebanon and the Committee Against Bird Slaughter, based in Germany.
The statement was released after a field visit organized for Lebanese and foreign officials Tuesday.
Itani said poachers in the north “are shooting for fun, big numbers. They shoot even at night, using spotlights... They have WhatsApp groups to track the birds together.”
Countries such as Poland and others along migratory routes have pressured Lebanon to take action.
Killing of birds has been reduced in some areas this year through the awareness campaigns and in cooperation with authorities, the statement said, but improved bird protection laws have yet to be enforced by the security forces.
The joint statement called for the creation of a professional and dedicated wildlife crime unit to curb poaching during migration periods.


US targets five Iranian officials for blocking election candidates

Updated 34 min 27 sec ago

US targets five Iranian officials for blocking election candidates

WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday slapped sanctions on five Iranian officials in charge of vetting candidates for this week's parliamentary elections, in which thousands have been barred from running.
The targeted officials include Ahmad Jannati, a powerful cleric accused of overseeing the disqualification of candidates as part of the Guardian Council. The ultra-conservative also plays a key role in a body that selects the regime's supreme leader.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

"The Trump Administration will not tolerate the manipulation of elections to favor the regime's malign agenda, and this action exposes those senior regime officials responsible for preventing the Iranian people from freely choosing their leaders," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.