Hunting in Syria (second attempt)

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Hunting in Syria (second attempt)
From: "Tom Tarrant" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 08:19:07 +1000
Hi All,
My original post was rejected by the moderator as too large, hopefully this
will be OK.

I'm cross-posting from EBN

From: René Vos <
Date: 2007. február 25. 21:22:57 GMT+01:00
Subject: [MEBirdNet] Syria: 1250 Sociable Plovers, but hunters are on
their way!

The Syria Sociable Plover team discovered today in a limited area
about 1250 Sociable Plovers, but unfortunately also preparations for
hunters with obviously these birds as their target.
Please read Remco Hofland's report below, and especially his cry for
immediate help.

Remco Hofland wrote:

Dear friends,

Today we hit the jackpot but see lower down for urgent news and
request for help, especially from people who are influential in
We started this morning simultaneously at areas no 1 and 2, to get an
accurate count of Sociable Plovers around in the area.
Team 1 (area 1) would then move to area 3, team 2 to 4, going further
east, informing each other of movements of flocks to try and prevent
getting double counts.

Area no 1 yielded 267 SPs, all visible scanning around from the top
of our Nissan Patrol; area no 2 (ca 14 kms eastwards)produced between
124 and 140 birds. Team 1 moved to area no 3 and, after arriving and
quite quickly locating 148 SPs, team 2 moved to area no 4. This
however turned out to be the eastern part of area no 3, which proved
to be the jackpot.

(Area 3) It is located about 18 kms east of area no 2 and is about 14
x 14 kms in size (of which the southern part resembles semi-desert
and is therefore not suitable for SP). The birds' preferred habitat
was similar to the earlier ones, which is grazed natural steppe
enclosed by near-endless barley fields.

While team 1 was looking at 148 SPs in the SW corner, team 2,
positioned in the NE corner, counted no less than 700 SPs from one
viewpoint only. I strongly believe that my team recorded around 1,250
different SPs today, of which 848 were found in one area only. This
area is called Ar Ruweida Rangeland reserve and, although it is
grazed by several herds of sheep, has quite extensive stretches of
short grass favoured by SPs. It is bordered by an earth wall much
like Talila Reserve east of Talila, but only at the western and
southern sides as far as I could tell. We took shit and soil samples
and photographed sev birds and plants.

There is one VERY BIG PROBLEM however. In the eastern part of the
area a tented camp was being erected by workmen servicing a Qatari
prince and the rest of his hunting party, who are said to be arriving
tonight or tomorrow. They will probably stay around one month in
luxury tents, with nothing on their hands other than to shoot more
SPs than there are worldwide (according to the Single Species Action
Plan). The area holds few other birds, the ones we saw were endless
flocks of Sky- and Calandra Larks, single male Pallid and Hen
Harrier, few Long-legged Buzzards, Merlins and Greater Sand Plovers.
The SPs are at great risk here AND THERE IS NEED FOR IMMEDIATE
ACTION. Could someone please send governmental people or police over
to politely (but firmly) ask to move elsewhere ?!!! We have been able
to take photographs of the camp, rifles and slugs, after introducing
ourselves as normal tourists.

The GPS coordinates of the eastern access track to the area, located
ca 500m west of a power station just north of the M4, are N 36, 33,
11.6 / E 39, 52, 56.1. The area is located roughly 3 kms south of the

The GPS coordinates of the tented camp are N 36 degr 28' 35.2" / E
39 degr 53' 03.7" .

More on behaviour and the likes in the next email.

Bye for now,

Remco and the team

Tom & Marie Tarrant
Samsonvale, Qld

Tom & Marie Tarrant
Samsonvale, Qld

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