By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) on Monday announced the end of the bird-hunting season across the Kingdom and called on hunters to abide by regulations.

Hunting of all types of birds, particularly wild pigeons and chukar, is banned from early May and until early June to give birds a chance to breed during their mating season, Mahdi Qatramiz, head of the RSCN’s conservation and hunting regulation section, said yesterday.

“Banning bird hunting during this time of the year has several goals, mainly to let the birds rest and nest during the mating season and because it coincides with the end of the migration season, particularly of winter and autumn birds,” Qatramiz underscored.

Migratory birds in the southern hemisphere use the Rift Valley/Red Sea Flyway to return to Europe and the northern hemisphere in the spring. On their journey, more than 1.5 million birds stop over in places like the Jordan Valley to rest and drink water.

The Rift Valley-Red Sea route is the world’s second most-used flyway, with 37 types of migratory soaring birds, which maintain flight by using rising air currents, travelling on the flyway annually, according to the RSCN.

At least five of these species are globally endangered, such as white and black storks, buzzards, eagles and vultures.

“Hunting to the east of the Hijaz Railway remains off-limits to hunters under a Cabinet decision in 1993, because the border area is home to several rare animals and birds,” Qatramiz noted.

Hunting wild boars, however, is permitted year-round as they are considered a threat to cultivation in the Jordan Valley, Jerash, Ajloun, Salt and Irbid, according to the society.

With almost 4,000 of an estimated 7,000 hunters in the Kingdom registered with the society, he called on hunters to cooperate and abide by hunting regulations.

Under RSCN regulations, those who hunt outside the allotted period are fined JD100 and sentenced to one-week in prison, while those who kill endangered species, such as falcons, are fined JD2,000 and handed a four-month prison term.

In addition, violators’ weapons are seized, according to the RSCN.

The location of hunting activities changes according to the season, with hunters mainly active in the Jordan Valley, mountainous areas and the eastern desert, according to the RSCN.

In 1973, the government gave the RSCN, an independent nonprofit NGO, a mandate to regulate hunting and protect the Kingdom’s wildlife.