Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Have you ever seen this bird before? We’re actually famous for this species.

                                             

My fellow Lebanese, did you know that our country is home to 400 species of birds, 260 of which are migratory? This is really something for us to be proud of! Sadly, 15 of our bird species are threatened with extinction. Here’s why:

Recreational hunting has been illegal in Lebanon since the mid-1990s. However, this law is not enforced.  Recreational hunting takes place throughout the year, especially in Northern Lebanon and the Bekaa. These hunters are not hunting for food; they are killing for sport. The results of recreational hunting are that the bird population goes down, and migratory birds change their migration pattern. As such, we lose our bird species and our biodiversity.

Nor does hunting just affect the birds. After all, those who hunt tend to leave the used ammunition behind. This used ammunition contains lead, which is toxic. The toxins spread into our groundwater and soil, reducing soil fertility, the cleanliness of our water, and causes health problems for us. Long-term low-level exposure to lead, (such as the type that we experience here) can lead to birth defects, neurological disorders, bone defects, vomiting, and diarrhea. Fun. 

In discussing this issue with people who hunt, I’ve heard things like, “Hey, it’s only a little lead, it won’t affect you…my target is the birds!” or  “It might be illegal, but they aren’t going to stop me, so why should I care?” Or “I can order a plate of birds at a restaurant, so why aren’t I allowed to hunt them?” Or  “My Dad and I used to do it, and my son and I will do it, too.” And my own personal favorite, “Ya aameh, you’re worried about the birds dying when the Lebanese are always about to kill each other!?”

That’s not the point. The point is that killing these creatures is not meant for survival and in any case, it is illegal. Besides, the after-effects of hunting have negative effects on our health as well!  It time for us to raise awareness about the dangers of recreational hunting, raise awareness about the fact that there is a ban on hunting wildlife in Lebanon, and for us to advocate for the enforceability of this law. Lebanon, our home has so much natural diversity, which is a rarity in the Arab world. It is up to us to protect it. It is also up to us to fight for our own health as well! We can do it, Lebanon!  

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