22/06/2015
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Summer meeting to focus on illegal bird killing

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It is now less than three weeks until the annual Ornithological Society of the Middle East Summer Meeting, which this year is focused on illegal bird killing in the OSME region. The meeting, which incorporates the OSME 37th AGM, will be held at the BTO Head Office in Thetford on Saturday 4 July.

We have five excellent speakers lined up to talk about various aspects of illegal bird killing. To start the proceedings, the BTO's Director, Andy Clements, will give an overview of the value of bird monitoring. It is crucial to understand population numbers, trends and reasons behind declines if effective conservation solutions are to be implemented, and the BTO are world leaders in collecting and understanding such data.

Many countries and regions do not have comprehensive data on which to base conservation actions, but there is often much information to be gleaned via the so called grey literature and expert opinion. Anne-Laure Brochet of BirdLife International will present some initial findings of a review of illegal bird killing in the Mediterranean.

After lunch we will hear Oliver Reville talk about addressing illegal hunting at Batumi (Georgia) through education and awareness raising. The Batumi Raptor Count and BirdLife Georgia have been undertaking excellent work with the local community to address the shooting of a range of birds, especially raptors. Indeed, OSME have been proud to support two separate projects through the Conservation and Research Fund.


Illegal bird trapping is a great problem in the OSME region (Photo: RSPB Images)

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Assad Serhal, the Director General of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), will talk about how they have been working with local hunters in Lebanon to develop sustainable hunting practices. The results of the project so far have been impressive and could act as a model for other countries with similar unsustainable hunting issues.

The final talk of the day will be by Simon Wotton of the RSPB on monitoring illegal bird trapping: a vital part of the long-running campaign to halt bird killing in Cyprus. Along with Malta, Cyprus is probably one of the best known examples (at least in Europe) of conservationists campaigning to halt the killing of birds on migration.

Doors open 10.00 and talks start at 11.00. Non-members welcome, no attendance charge. For a more detailed Programme see www.osme.org/content/osme-summer-meeting-and-37th-agm.

Written by: Dr Rob Sheldon, OSME Chairman