Activists skeptical as hunting season kicks off
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.