Jordan's largest-ever cache of illegally hunted birds siezed

Golden Orioles found at the trapper's house in Jordan. Photo: RSCN (BirdLife International).
Golden Orioles found at the trapper's house in Jordan. Photo: RSCN (BirdLife International).
Authorities in Jordan have announced the seizure of 7,000 dead birds in the largest hunting violation ever recorded there.

Rangers from the Royal Department for Protecting Environment (RDPE) and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN, BirdLife in Jordan) caught the hunter and seized the dead birds in October, after receiving reports about a person who was in possession of large numbers of avian corpses in the eastern desert. The hunter was found in possession of 6,800 Blackcaps, 40 Eurasian Golden Orioles and 45 Laughing Doves.

The illegal hunting and trading of birds is one of the rising issues for conservationists in the Mediterranean region. It is a major challenge for governments and NGOs, as penalties in the region are not currently acting as a deterrent to illegal hunting activities. 

Both the RDPE and RSCN are working together to enforce Agriculture Law Number 13 for the year 2015, issued in the country's Official Gazette in April last year, stipulates that it is illegal to hunt wild birds and animals without obtaining a license and 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.

Abdul Razzaq Hmoud, acting director of RSCN's conservation and hunting regulation section, said most of the birds discovered were migrant species 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,” Hmoud said.

RSCN rangers are covering sensitive hunting areas on a weekly basis with law enforcement. They are relying on support from other official bodies such as local police departments, customs officers and local communities.

Raising awareness is one of the RSCN’s main roles along with building ranger capacities, reviewing and amending laws and legislation, and enforcing laws in collaboration with other environmental entities – all to eliminate the illegal killing of birds in Jordan.

The RSCN has formulated a strategy in co-operation 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 try to ensure that they abide by the new decision.
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