By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Inspectors have registered 80 hunting violations over the past three months, according to the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).

The violations include hunting without a licence from the RSCN, hunting endangered birds and animals and hunting birds out of the allotted period, Mahdi Qatramiz, head of the RSCN’s conservation and hunting regulation section, said yesterday.

“Our teams have also seized and confiscated several stuffed birds and animals, whose trade is prohibited under international conventions,” he noted.

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

Earlier this month, the RSCN announced the opening of the hunting season for wild pigeons, which are mainly found along the Jordan Valley.

Hunting of all types of birds, particularly wild pigeons and chukar, is banned from early May to June to give birds a chance to breed during their mating season, according to conservationists.

Banning bird hunting during this time of the year also coincides with the end of the migration season, particularly of winter and autumn birds.

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.

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.’