Middle East
1 Nov 2016

The largest hunting violation ever recorded in Jordan

Eurasian Golden Orioles (Oriolus oriolus) ©RSCN
Eurasian Golden Orioles (Oriolus oriolus) ©RSCN
By Majd Abu Zaghlan
The illegal killing and trading of birds is one of the rising issues for conservationists in the Mediterranean region. It is a major challenge for governments and conservation organizations, as penalties in the region are not currently serving as a deterrent to illegal killing activities.  
Authorities in Jordan announced recently the seizure of 7,000 dead birds in the largest illegal hunting violation ever recorded in the Kingdom of Jordan after receiving reports about a person who was in possession of large numbers of dead birds in the eastern desert.
The rangers from the Royal Department for Protecting Environment and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN – BirdLife in Jordan) caught the hunter and seized the dead birds in October. The hunter was found in possession of 6,800 Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla, 40 Eurasian Golden Orioles Oriolus oriolus and 45 Laughing Doves Spilopelia senegalensis
Both entities are working together to enforce Agriculture law number 13 for the year 2015, which was issued in the Official Gazette in April last year, stipulates that it is illegal to hunt down wild birds and animals without obtaining a license and it is also illegal to hunt in areas and times where and when hunting is not permitted. The same appendix also stipulates that it is illegal to kill, possess, transport, sell or display for selling wild birds and animals. The rangers are following all environmental legislations and supporting the specialized agencies in their patrolling through their wide distributions across the country.
Abdul Razzaq Hmoud, acting director of RSCN's conservation and hunting regulation section, says most of the birds discovered were migrant species that have been hunted during the year in different private areas along the flyway in the eastern desert. “The hunter had the birds frozen and packaged, as he either planning to export the dead birds to a Gulf country, according to his claims, or sell them to upscale restaurants that serve the birds as a delicacy for high prices”.
RSCN rangers are covering sensitive hunting areas through agreed schedules that are set on a weekly basis together with law enforcement. They are widely supported by other officials such as police departments, customs and awarded public communities.
Raising awareness level is one of RSCN’s main roles in addition to building rangers’ capacities, reviewing and amending laws and legislations and enforcing laws in collaboration with other environmental entities to eliminate the illegal killing of birds in Jordan. 
RSCN has formulated a strategy in cooperation with the rangers to enforce the laws, including intensifying inspection patrols in areas where the birds spread, and setting up checkpoints to inspect hunters’ vehicles and make sure they abide by the new decision.