6th August 2014
BEIRUT: Bird-watching ranks as one of the country’s most popular pastimes, if you count those looking through the sight of a rifle.
“Birds are very important in Lebanon because it’s on one of the most important migration corridors in the world for birds. But all the bird [species] coming through Lebanon are being killed,” said Yola Noujaim, an organizer of the annual, eco-focused Jabalna Festival, which has themed this year’s activities around protecting our feathery friends.
“The old hunters, they know what time they can hunt and what they can hunt. But this new generation ... the iPhone generation, they know really nothing about birds. They take a gun, they go with their parents and they kill anything.”
Around 600 million birds migrate through Lebanon every fall and spring. While a few local ecologists and amateur bird-watchers wait for peak seasons to tally species from the ordinary to the rare and unusual, hunters are looking to catch more than a mere sighting.