Authorities slap ban on hunting migratory birds.
RIYADH: Local authorities announced yesterday a ban on hunting of migratory birds that are flocking into the Kingdom by the thousands with the onset of winter.
An official from the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development (NCWCD) told Arab News that although the Kingdom is free of the H5N1 bird flu virus, the government wants to avoid exposure from wild migratory birds.
"There are chances that some of these birds can bring in the disease to places where they temporarily take shelter, and hunting them would make matters worse," the official said.
The migratory birds mostly come from East Europe and West Asia.
The Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with the NCWCD, regulates the hunting season in the Kingdom.
"The year is divided into eight hunting seasons," he said. "Six of them are devoted to birds and two are for dhub (a large desert lizard) and rabbits."
Besides migratory birds, falcons are the most commonly hunted birds in the Kingdom. They are captured alive. Falcons are mostly found in areas such as Al-Jouf, Tabuk, Qurayat and along the Red Sea coast.
Different species of falcons include Sakr, Green and Lanner falcons and its prices range from SR10,000 to SR100,000. The hunted falcons are either sold in the open market or they are tamed as hunting birds.
Migratory birds are mostly found in Al-Hair in Riyadh, Al-Asfar Lake, Jubail Marine Protected Area, Dawmat Al-Jandal and the Farasan Islands.
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