Ammiq resting and feeding ground for migrating birds in Lebanon

By Ayoub Khaddaj

BEIRUT, June 28 (KUNA) — The Ammiq swap region in the Bekaa valley in eastern Lebanon is one of the main stopovers for migrating birds.
The wet area of swamp lands, lush and cultivated fields, rocky and grassy hills and woods, is a feeding and resting ground for various species of migrating birds.
Michel Skaff, a landlord, told KUNA the local authorities had pondered possibility of drying up the swamp lands for reclamation, but the idea was shelved after realizing the environmental value for these wide swaths of wet terrains.
However, the authorities have been encouraging planting of trees, cutting numbers of goats and sheep and banning hunting of wild birds in the region.
There is European concern for the region, situated between the Mediterranean and the Arabian peninsula, for it is on the route for birds that fly from Norther Europe to and from North Africa.
The region is not an official natural reserve, however, the wide swaths of orchards and fields are fenced and people who venture into the locations are supervised and not allowed to enter in large numbers.
Skaff said the Shouf Cedars Reserve manages the area and holds regular leisure activities. The reserve general director, Nezar Hani, told KUNA that Ammiq has recently started to lure new species of birds.
The area is also witnessing some entertainment and tourist activities, with the recent opening of an organic food restaurant. (end) ayb.rk