It is a little known fact outside of conservation and hunting circles, Sherif Baha el Din from Nature Conservation Egypt told The Guardian, but Egyptian hunters will destroy thousands of migratory birds in the coming weeks as they make their way from Europe back to Africa for the winter.
Egyptian bird hunters trap thousands of migratory birds in a variety of different ways.
Some set up a wall of nets along the Mediterranean Sea to capture the common quail, others set up “shade traps” on the ground, complete with an electronic bird call device that lures the birds in to their senseless death, while others set up nets in trees.
On their long and perilous journey south, migratory birds will seek out acacia trees for rest, but they’ll find hunters waiting for them instead, who will shoot at everything in site, according to The Guardian.
Bycatch, which refers to birds accidentally called up in the murderous fray, are rarely spared even though some pubescent, unenforced laws in Egypt require such caution. As such, scores of shrikes and warblers and other birds will also die unneccessarily.
The European Golden Oriole is particularly vulnerable as hunters seek them out as “natural viagra” for residents of Arab Gulf countries that need a little help in the bedroom.
At one tree at an oasis somewhere in Egypt, Jonathan Franzen, who visited the country last year to report on threats to migrants across the Mediterranean for National Geographic, watched as hunters massacred approximately 5,000 golden orioles.
These are then sold through middlemen to Gulf countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, although Baha el Din claims that .
All told, roughly 140 million birds will be killed in Egypt alone. Lebanon will exact a terrible toll on the migrating bird populations as well, as hunters often kill just for the blood and sport of it, and song birds will be captured in Cyprus and sold for a pickled dish that is considered a delicacy.
Franzen was so disturbed by the scale of unregulated killing in Egypt that he compared this bi-annual bird catch to fishing, a senseless sport that virtually nobody considers to be out of the ordinary.
This was the only way for him to come to terms with the mentality of the people who are responsible for this terrible tradition.
:: The Guardian
Image of migrating birds, Shutterstock