AMMAN — A video posted online Tuesday showing two men boasting about the killing of an owl sparked controversy and prompted conservationists to warn that the owl population in Jordan is dwindling.
Meanwhile, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) on Tuesday said that it had alerted the Rangers of the violation.
"We saw the video and it is upsetting…," Omar Shoshan, RSCN spokesperson and head of its environmental policies and advocacy department, told The Jordan Times.
The video was posted on a local news website, which reported that the two men had killed the owl on Monday evening in the Ring Road area in east Amman, after they found it in a chicken coop preying on chickens.
The news website also reported that the owl weighed over 10 kilogrammes and the length of each wing ranged between 80 and 90 centimetres.
Shoshan criticised the news website for posting the video, noting that it portrayed the killing of the owl positively.
"We will also contact the news website and ask them to remove the video because it encourages people to hunt rare animal or bird species," Shoshan said.
The video drew many reactions, the majority unfavourable.
"They could have caught and released the owl without having to kill it. It is very cruel and the video is very disturbing," Rima Zaghel, a university student, said.
Head of the RSCN's field research, Ehab Eid, said that certain types of owls in Jordan are endangered.
"Hunting is threatening the owl population in Jordan. People hunt owls because in our culture, owls are thought to bring bad luck and jinx those who see them," Eid told The Jordan Times.
But owls have many benefits that people are not aware of, Eid said, such as limiting the spread of rodents that carry diseases.
"An owl wouldn't prey on chickens, if it was truly found at the chicken coop, then it was probably there looking for mice or other rodents," the researcher said.
Owls are mostly solitary and nocturnal birds. They are found in all regions of the earth except Antactica, most of Greenland and some remote islands. They are characterised by their small beaks and wide faces, and are divided into two families: the typical owls , Strigidae, and the barn owls, Tytonidae, according to web sources.