Lebanon - (ARAB NEWSWIRE) - Bird hunting is a very common practice in Lebanon- this country can be considered a bottleneck for migratory birds - including many eagles, vultures, falcons, passerines as well storks and cranes, some of which are of conservation concerns being either endangered or threatened species - using the most important flyway in the Middle East along the Great Rift Valley.
Indiscriminate shooting and taking of birds are serious issues IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) intends to tackle through a partnership with a local NGO, the LAMB (Lebanese Association for Migratory Birds) - which is operating a primitive rescue centre concentrating on raptors and storks, through the launch of LOBR, Levant Operation for Bird Rescue.
Raptors and storks are critical to many landscapes and habitats' survival; they help clean up the environment from carcasses preventing the spread of pathogens, they are amongst the most common top predators and are likely to shape the species assemblages of birds and mammals, and are prey themselves for large carnivores.
Together IFAW and LAMB will work on developing and improving the rescue centre to rescue the injured birds, rehabilitate them, and ultimately release them to their natural habitats-when possible.
Dr Michel Sawan, President of LAMB stated, "As many as 408 bird species were recorded in Lebanon, and few sites were identified as important migratory bottlenecks (corridors)- which the majoity of the birds recorded use- but random and illegal hunting practices will unfortunately change these statistics if we don't protect them, now.".
"IFAW is consistently proving how the protection of animals in one place can impact others on different continents, emphasizing the importance of countries working together toward the conservation of endangered species," said Dr Elsayed Mohamed, IFAW's Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. He continued, "The LOBR project will have a greater impact beyond the Lebanese borders and will indirecly save the habitats in East and South Africa where IFAW's Room to Roam project operates-the final destination for many of the migratory birds flying over Lebanon.".
Hunting is an embedded practice in the Lebanese culture and is passed down through generations. However, with time, this practice branched out to include cruel trapping methods-nets, bow traps, and lime sticks to name a few-and in unsustainable, wasteful quantities. LOBR is urging hunters to fully conform to the laws concerning hunting.
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About the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) - The International Fund for Animal Welfare is a global non-profit helping animal and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we're up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org
Regional Communications Manager, IFAW
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