Ac­tivists skep­ti­cal as hunt­ing sea­son kicks off

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - LEBANON -

BEIRUT: Mem­bers of the Le­banese Bird Con­ser­va­tion Coali­tion said Fri­day that they had “mixed emo­tions” about the open­ing of Le­banon’s hunt­ing sea­son.

“We rec­og­nize that there are le­git­i­mately re­spon­si­ble and le­gal hunters fol­low­ing the [new hunt­ing] law,” the LBCC said, as the hunt­ing sea­son got un­der­way.

How­ever, de­spite new reg­u­la­tions, the LBCC voiced fears that “the large-scale slaugh­ter of over 200 bird species, many of which are glob­ally at risk of ex­tinc­tion, will con­tinue as in past years.”

In Au­gust, En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Tarek Khatib an­nounced new rules and reg­u­la­tions for hunt­ing.

Hunters must now pass phys­i­cal and men­tal health ex­ams, as well as read­ing and prac­ti­cal ex­ams on hunt­ing laws, be­fore re­ceiv­ing a li­cense. Hunters will be re­quired to iden­tify the species of birds that are le­gal to hunt and their an­nual hunt­ing quo­tas. Those who can­not read or write have the op­tion of tak­ing an oral exam.

The coali­tion ex­pressed sup­port for Pres­i­dent Michel Aoun’s “Peace Ac­cord” with birds and na­ture, but said that poach­ers, shoot­ers and trap­pers were largely un­aware of the dam­age they were caus­ing and crit­i­cized the role of hunt­ing shops. Their state­ment added that “Many restau­rants, butch­ers and su­per­mar­kets sell birds … the ma­jor­ity of which are not con­sid­ered le­gal game.” Hop­ing for hunters to open a new chap­ter this sea­son in Le­banon’s bird con­ser­va­tion ef­forts, the LBCC called on the Le­banese gov­ern­ment to fast-track the process to be­come a full sig­na­tory to the Con­ven­tion on Mi­gra­tory Species.

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