Thursday, March 25, 2010

Read and weep

The following is an article in the current issue of NATURE NEWS EGYPT. Read it and weep.

Bird Hunting in the Western Desert Oases: a Further Difficulty Migratory Birds Have to Face
By Sherif Baha El Din
Bird hunting is not well documented in the Western Desert of Egypt, but appears to have a long history and seems to be expanding dramatically. This hunt takes place specifically during autumn, starting in September and lasting till October, when bird migration south is at its height. The favorite target is the Golden Oriole, but nothing with two wings is spared. So many Golden Orioles are killed that some parts of the desert turn yellow from the feather of these birds. Hunting is usually done with air guns, but some shotguns are used. There is no systematic evaluation of this hunting, but it is likely that at least several tens of thousands of birds are killed, if not hundreds of thousands. Every child and man in the oases seems to be involved,
teachers leave their schools and workers take leave to go out to hunt birds. The best locations for bird hunting are under isolated trees in the middle of the desert, where the poor migrants land in their tens to rest on the few and obvious trees, to be shot by the hunters awaiting them below. The large Acacia trees between Bahariya Oasis and Wadi el-Rayan had tens of hunters in September 2009. Bird hunting overall seems to be intensifying throughout Egypt, including falcon catching. Enforcement of any regulations seems to be waning.
This is an important issue to consider and to decide what we can do about it.

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