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Migratory birds are currently flying over the Middle East to reach Europe. It is one of the most important migratory corridors in the world for birds. But when it passes over Lebanon, they get shot. An illegal hunt against which nothing is done.
It was a video on the Internet that set fire to the powder. We see a flight of storks and we hear machine gun fire, weapons of war. This takes place in the Akkar region, in the north of the country. Dozens of migratory birds, who came to spend the winter in more favorable latitudes, were shot down, others injured.
Michel Sawan is a bird advocate. In his aviaries, in the middle of the mountains, he is currently collecting and caring for storks that escaped this shooting, but also several birds of prey, all wounded by bullets and victims of this illegal hunting. « It’s not a hunthe complains. The majority of birds are killed just for fun and not to be eaten. They are brought up to live in violence. When people see pelicans and storks, they come out with M16s, Kalashnikovs… That’s the problem. »he complains.
More than 2.5 million birds slaughtered each year
According to the associations, at least 2.6 million birds are illegally slaughtered in Lebanon each year. To give an order of magnitude, it is eight times more than in France, while the country is barely larger than Corsica.
All the legal arsenal against poaching exists however. Police officers patrol the countryside and animal defenders hunt down illegal hunters. Complaints are regularly filed against them, but nothing is happening. Worse, activists are regularly targeted. Michel Sawan was shot seven times by hunters. Her friend Ghina Nahfawi, also an animal rights activist, regularly receives death threats. She alerted the authorities, but has no illusions.
« Unfortunately, some police and some soldiers are poachers themselves. »Ghina Nahfawi, activist for animal causes
« The people who are supposed to uphold the law are the first to break it. This is the main problem in Lebanon, according to her. Crimes against humanity, whether they concern humans or animals, always go unpunished.. And Ghina to specify that most of the time, poachers come out of the police station with a warning, and start again immediately.