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RSCN confiscates weapons of Gulf nationals hunting rock hyrax in Maan

By Hana Namrouqa - Apr 19,2015 - Last updated at Apr 19,2015

AMMAN — The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) has seized and confiscated weapons of unlicensed hunters who were hunting the rock hyrax, a mammal whose population is dwindling in Jordan, a conservationist said on Sunday.

RSCN inspectors discovered groups of hunters, the majority of them from Gulf countries, who were hunting the rock hyrax in Maan Governorate’s Mudawarah area, near the Jordanian-Saudi border, according to Abdul Razzaq Hmoud, acting director of RSCN’s conservation and hunting regulation section.

“The rock hyrax is favoured and sought after by Gulf hunters, who hid their weapons in the sand when approached by the RSCN. However, our experienced inspectors were able to find the weapons and hand them over to authorities,” Hmoud told The Jordan Times.

The conservationist underscored that there are no recent studies on the rock hyrax population in the Kingdom, however, its numbers are dwindling due to hunting.

The rock hyrax is usually found in mountains near desert areas, Hmoud said, noting that because the mammal feeds on plants, it is favoured by hunters, who hunt it for its meat.

He said the RSCN and Rangers are carrying out regular inspection campaigns in desert areas to make sure that the ban on the entry of falcons into the Kingdom is enforced.

Earlier this month, the RSCN announced a decision banning Gulf citizens entering Jordan from bringing in their falcons in a step to prevent hunting of endangered species.

The RSCN, Jordan’s wildlife conservation and nature protection NGO, said that the decision was taken in agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture and was circulated by the Ministry of Interior to local agencies and embassies of Gulf states in the country to inform their citizens.

According to Hmoud, the RSCN is also conducting inspection campaigns on pet shops in cooperation with the Rangers to prevent the sale, display or possession of endangered animals.

“Over the past two weeks, the RSCN and the Rangers seized and confiscated squirrels, tortoises and wild birds which were displayed for sale at pet shops,” he noted.

The confiscated animals will be released back into the wild, the conservationist said.

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