November 06, 2013 12:15 AM

BEIRUT: A bird conservation organization called for more measures to protect endangered migrating birds, during a workshop to discuss the intersections between the flocks and ecotourism in Lebanon. The Migratory Soaring Birds Project organized the workshop Monday, with the participation of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon and support from the United Nations Development Program and the Environment Ministry.

Discussions focused on ways to regularize conservation efforts in key sectors along the Red Sea flyaway, a major migration route for birds.

The workshop sought to detail ways to ensure the safe passage of endangered species using the migratory route.

The immediate objective of the MSB project during the workshop was to develop objectives and actions to mainstream protection concerns by including them in hunting laws and the energy, agricultural, waste management and tourism sectors operating along the Red Sea flyaway.

Head of the Society for the Protection of Nature Asaad Sarhal said that it was necessary to pair ecotourism efforts with the migration routes of birds, as well as the routes used commonly by shepherds.

He said that organizing hunting sports according to specific areas of Lebanon was the ultimate step in protecting migrating birds. He added that special areas should be devoted to the sport, and these areas should be detailed in maps to help monitors catch those hunting outside the legal zones.

The Tourism Ministry’s representative Joseph Haimari also stressed the importance of linking conservation measures to several ecotourism programs that would also aid in monitoring. He said, however, that due to a tight budget, the ministry did not have the means to promote a full-scale ecotourism project for birds in the country.

The Red Sea flyway is the second most important route for migratory soaring birds, which include raptors, storks, pelicans and some ibis. Over 1.5 million birds of 37 species, of which five are endangered, use the crucial corridor to travel between their breeding grounds in Europe and West Asia and wintering areas in Africa each year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on November 06, 2013, on page 4.

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::