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Activists release game birds in bid to bolster numbers

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Feb 12,2019 - Last updated at Feb 12,2019

Activists release endangered chukars into the wild in this undated photo. The release was organised in a bid to bolster the birds’ numbers which are threatened by poaching and climate change (Photo courtesy of the Jordan Outdoor Sport Association)

AMMAN — Despite continuous violations by hunters and “government indifference”, people will continue their struggle to protect nature, activists told The Jordan Times during a recent event.

The Jordan Outdoor Sport Association recently released 500 chukars, endangered game birds, in Madaba, 35km southeast of Amman, the association’s president, Ramzi Handal, said on Sunday. 

The event aimed to help increase the endangered bird’s population, Handal told The Jordan Times, adding that it has been prohibited to hunt chukars in Jordan since 2016.

Since 2014, the association has released thousands of birds into the wild in several areas, Handal said, adding that they only announce one batch of releases every year to keep the locations unknown to poachers.

The birds, including chukars and pheasants, are usually bred and donated by environmental activists without support from the government, according to Handal.

However, releasing birds is not enough, said Handal, charging that “the authorities show little to no initiative” in attempting to regulate hunting and prevent violations such as poaching, building blinds and targeting endangered species.

The government has to control the sport by increasing the level of scrutiny through employing more rangers and becoming more responsive to activists’ initiatives and suggestions, said Handal.

The event was attended by members of the association, along with representatives from the ministries of environment and agriculture, and the Royal Department for Environmental Protection.

The decline in the birds’ population is happening across the Mediterranean, according to the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature’s (RSCN) website.

The RSCN said that, aside from hunting, climate change also threatens the survival of the species by shortening the bird’s mating season.

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