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RSCN celebrates golden jubilee, releases annual report

By Hana Namrouqa - May 17,2016 - Last updated at May 17,2016

The Royal Academy for Nature Conservation in Ajloun, some 70km northwest of Amman (Photo courtesy of RSCN)

AMMAN — As the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) celebrated its golden jubilee on Monday, the NGO released its 2015 annual report which highlighted the launch of the Royal Academy for Nature Conservation as its key achievement.

The academy, inaugurated by HRH Crown Prince Hussein in December last year, is located in Ajloun Forest Reserve. It is the first centre in the Arab world specialised in offering training on nature conservation and biodiversity programmes.

The facility, which extends over an area of 3,000 square metres, aims at preserving bio-diversity in the Kingdom and enhancing nature protection in Jordan and neighbouring countries.

Among the other achievements of RSCN in 2015 is a national resolution that bans bringing falcons into the Kingdom, in addition to converting several of the society's facilities to rely on renewable energy for power, according to the report, a copy of which was made available to The Jordan Times.

The document indicated that the cumulative total income generated by the eight nature reserves managed by the RSCN stands at JD2,482,135, with Tafileh Governorate, where Dana Nature Reserve is located, receiving the highest portion of the income, while Madaba Governorate generated the least revenues.

The report also indicated that in 2015, the RSCN conducted 14 studies and announced the results of four main studies, including a study on the Stone Marten in Ajloun, Dibeen and Yarmouk forest reserves, which indicated a continuous dropping population of the endangered animal due to arbitrary hunting whether as a hobby or out of local communities' disregard of the fact that the existence of the mammal is on the line.

Meanwhile, a study of the vegetation cover in Wadi Rum Nature Reserve, which is the country's largest sanctuary, showed "good" results as 178 plant species belonging to 40 different families were recorded.

The third study was carried out on the Dead Sea Sparrow in Fifa Nature Reserve. The sparrow is one of the endangered birds at the national level as a result of habitat destruction, along with the decline of the global distribution of the bird across the Middle East, according to the RSCN. The study estimated the size of the Dead Sea Sparrow population in Fifa reserve at about 780 pairs.

The document also indicated that the Fifa reserve is the bird's most important habitat, highlighting a link between the presence of the bird's nests and the intensity of the Tamarisk plant cover. It recommended the development of a special monitoring programme for the bird in the reserve.

In addition, the report indicated that in 2015, the RSCN also carried out a study on the corona virus spread in the country. Under the study, saliva and blood samples of a group of camels in Azraq were collected and then taken to Egypt for analysis. The results were negative and the study indicated that the virus was not detected amongst the herd.

Established in 1966 as an independent nonprofit NGO and mandated by the government in 1973 to regulate hunting and protect the Kingdom’s wildlife, the society issued a total of 2,874 hunting licences in 2015.

 

It recorded 114 hunting violations last year, according to the report, which underlined that during patrolling trips, 14 falcons, two hyenas, four foxes, one wolf and 137 pythons were seized. 

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