Although having signed the Convention on the conservation of migratory species, and even if the Ministry of the Environment did not open the hunting season last autumn (which would in any case be closed at this time of the year ), Lebanon still does not manage to regulate this activity which often turns into poaching. The sad story of Hope is proof of this.
A young male stork, Hope was brought back to Aley’s ‘Animal Encounter’ shelter last November because of a gunshot wound from a hunter. After several months of rehabilitation, the bird was released by those who cared for it. However, he was the victim a second time of a fighter shot while he was flying over the Lebanese sky, a shot that was fatal to him. Her sad end appalled netizens who shared her story widely on social media.
“Storks are friends of gardeners: they eat insects and other pests that ravage crops,” explains Mounir Abi Saïd, founder of the Aley refuge. Spring being the breeding season for birds, hunting is prohibited everywhere in the world, and migratory birds are particularly protected, but in Lebanon the rules are always made to be broken. “It was the first time that we had installed a tracking system on a stork, we hoped to know the destination of Hope’s migration, its habits…”, continues Mounir Abi Saïd. The expert is sorry that Hope’s fate was not to leave the borders of Mount Lebanon.
It should be noted that the hunting of migratory birds is expressly prohibited by the Lebanese law on hunting. This rule is all the more important to respect since the national territory is located on one of the most important migration corridors in the world, where the flocks of birds land to take advantage of the water points.
Faithful to their partner, white storks (Ciconia ciconia) live in pairs all their lives. After the death of their companion, the storks remain solitary until the end of their existence, hence the fact that killing one of them means condemning all the descendants of the couple. These migratory birds also keep the same nest all their life, they retype it as soon as they return to Europe. The egg-laying season and in particular the hatching season of these waders corresponds to that when insects and snakes are most numerous. This is how storks roam the fields and meadows feeding on these pests that are the misfortune of farmers.
Although having signed the Convention on the conservation of migratory species, and even if the Ministry of the Environment did not open the hunting season last autumn (which would in any case be closed at this time of the year ), Lebanon still does not manage to regulate this activity which often turns into poaching. The sad story of Hope is the…