Posted by: r.m. | December 18, 2008

emptying Lebanon’s skies

Once again, I wonder: what does it mean to love your country? What does “country” mean? Can love of country be void of protection and respect and care for the birds, the animals, the trees, the soil, the waters, the air?

Lebanon, one of the world’s key migratory bird corridors, has turned into a death trap for the avian population due to illegal hunting of increasingly rare species.

Environmentalists cry massacre every hunting season, which typically lasts from October to December, when poachers kill birds by the thousands in the mountains and the eastern Bekaa region despite a 1995 hunting ban.

Some 390 bird species, including 260 migratory species, were identified in Lebanon in a 1992 study by Ghassan Jaradi, a Lebanese University ecology and taxonomy professor who updated his research this year.

…only 18 percent of hunters were able to distinguish between resident and migratory birds. The majority could not identify a rare species.

About 16 species of birds, including the pygmy cormorant and the imperial eagle, are threatened with extinction in Lebanon and the Near East, partly because of global warming and deforestation.”



  1. i cant believe that we cant even protect the simplst things we have! and whats really annoying is that sometimes hunters hunt just for the joy of it and not for food! its true that we never value anything except when we loose it though i hope we wont reach thispoint where birds would be terifid to fly over lebanon!

  2. Sadly, in Lebanon, not much is controlled by the law, and not for the lack thereof, but the absence of enforcement. This begs the question, are we a people so unenlightened that we need to be stopped from self destructing? Or are we so selfish as to not care for the planet and what kind of damage we inflict upon it? Which is worse?
    as for the birds and the hunting, well i find this a barbaric unjustified behavior because we are not killing for food, even if we sometimes eat the game; and we are supposed to be conscientious enough to know what, when and where to hunt, if we really had to.

  3. what i don’t understand is how there is law that bans hunting but it’s not being implemented.i guess it’s one of the many flaws of our government.i never new there were so many different species of birds in’s sad to see them decreasing in number.

  4. Our irresponsability again…some people just hunt for the fun of it and consider it as a hobby…They just dont know that these birds belong to the world, they dont know that killing them threatens the ecosystem as a whole…They are not threatening migrating populations to become extinct, but also local ones!!!
    That’s the stupidest and the silliest hobby I’ve ever seen.. What’s the fun of killing a bird?That small creature… 😦

  5. What’s more is that the world population of the Imperial Eagle is estimated at 350-700 pairs ONLY!!! An estimated 60-70 of these winter in Isreal every year after flying over southern Lebanon. After being shot by hunters in southern Lebanon, these wounded eagles keep flying and then stop in israel, where a group of israel ecologists try to treat, rehabilitate and release them. however, none of them can return to the wild!! Unfortunately, lebanese people have to learn something from their enemies!!

  6. We are wondering about the real love that one could have to his country.If we consider such love related to loving the wild life,the trees, the sky than no one really loves his country!!In fact we can deduce that ,by hunting birds humanbeing, is revealing his anthropomorphism.He might love his country, but he certainly loves himself more.He prefers eating those birds enjoying their taste more than conserving his country’s biodiversity.

  7. It’s not by banning hunting that the problem can be solved, because people will keep on practicing their destructive hobby, perhaps even more. However, hunting seasons should be set with strict dates and specific species of “huntable” birds. And as everything in Lebanon goes in parallel with our rudimentary mentality, these new rules should be inforced by the army; with poachers facing jail sentences and not just a stupid ticket, a ticket that only few pay since anyone “with connections” is the holder of a “Get out of jail free” card.

  8. If this indicates if we love our country or not, then I guess a lot of us dont!
    I personally find hunting the most cruel hobby ever, because we could live without doing it, and we could certainly live without eating birds.
    I never knew that Lebanon had such important birds; nevertheless, it’s a shame that we can’t protect those species.
    We can’t say that they should be laws on hunting, because no one is going to go by them, so I think there should more awareness about this issue.

  9. “I find hunting to be a relaxing sport that allows me to be in touch with nature,” Kareh told AFP.
    I don’t understand how the killing of birds can relax one’s mood, but I guess this seems to be the case since there are many hunters who pursue this “sport”
    A major problem I’m detecting is the ignorance of these people whilst shooting. If they think there are ‘thousands of birds’, or that killing a migratory bird won’t affect the local environment, they’re mistaken. Of course, even with laws concerning their ‘pastime’, there is no end to the slow yet soon-to-be-sure extinction of migratory birds.

  10. It was very excitng to find out that our country was blessed with such a variety of birds whether it was their habitat or just a stop en route to another country. What most people seem to fail to realsie is the importance of these birds. Everythig was created for a reason and everythin has a purpose and by killing these birds we are just affecting the ecosystem and eventually ourselves. Sadly while people all over the world are trying to do something about it, most people see it as a “sport”.

  11. Migratory birds as well as local ones are being killed in Lebanon by hunters, even though the law forbids these actions. This is not unusual! Our governments have a lot of important thinks to handle! Even if some species are on the verge of extinction.
    Lebanon “is one of the world’s key migratory birds corridors” but is losing this advantage. It is our responsibility to try saving the threatened species and to stop this illegal hunting. We must be aware of the importance of these birds because everything in life has a purpose. Hunters should not be allowed to hunt whatever bird species they encounter and law must be respected.

  12. Clearly we as Lebanese are throwing away whatever privaliges that have been given to us by God. The regular Lebanese layman sees hunting as a sport that should be practised by everyone and sees birds as pests that if erradicated then it would be good ridance and less critters. However, we can never be civilized enough or please let me rephrase, we can never reach a minimum threshold of civilization in order for us to stop such activities. It not up to our government to stop these things but it is up to us as educated people to start banning such acts by using firstly our social environment in university by mocking anyone who hunts birds for sport. This peer pressure can work very efficiently especially in a weak society such as the Lebanese society that is built on materialism and the constant need of each individual to feel special and outstanding.

  13. Unfortunately, the Lebanese government is occupied by many things and it is neglecting the most important treasure we have, our environment. I wish that one day we could be like abroad countries and have really strict rules for environment protection and not only on paper but make people abide them and penalize the ones who do not abide the rules.

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