By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) is drawing up a strategy for better enforcing hunting laws and regulations in Jordan, the society’s director, Yehya Khaled, said on Tuesday.

“The laws and regulations that control hunting in Jordan are enforced by the RSCN and several other national institutions, but collaboration with all segments of the society, especially hunters, is necessary to preserve biodiversity in Jordan,” he said during a workshop on hunting laws and regulations.

The strategy, Khaled noted, will be built upon the results of a study the RSCN conducted to evaluate the regulation of game hunting in Jordan, which concluded that the pertinent laws and regulations need to be reviewed and amended, particularly to impose stiffer penalties on hunters who violate them repeatedly.

The study also called for raising awareness among hunters about the status of wildlife species in Jordan and their global importance, as well as creating a single form for hunting inspectors across the country to report violations.

With over 4,000 registered hunters in Jordan, conservationists believe that raising their awareness of globally threatened species and the importance of abiding by hunting regulations is vital for the success of conservation efforts.

Abdul Razzaq Hmoud, the national component manager of an RSCN project for the conservation of migratory soaring birds along the Rift Valley-Red Sea Flyway, said that a network of registered hunters in Jordan is currently being formed.

“A committee of hunters in the northern governorates was formed recently. It seeks to involve hunters in conservation and guide them on how to ensure that their hunting activities are sustainable,” he said during yesterday’s workshop.

Hmoud highlighted that cooperation with hunters in the central and southern regions is under way, noting that a national network of hunters will eventually be established to regulate hunting activities and update hunters on new regulations.

Reviewing hunting regulations is one component of Hmoud’s project, which aims at safeguarding migratory birds from hunting, pollution and environmental degradation.

The project, which is funded by the UNDP and supervised by Birdlife International, also involves 10 other countries: Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The Rift Valley-Red Sea route is the world’s second most-used flyway, with more than 1.5 million birds crossing it during the spring and autumn migration seasons.

Migratory birds in the southern hemisphere use the route to return to Europe and the northern hemisphere in the spring. On the way, they stop over in places like the Jordan Valley to rest and drink water.

A total of 37 species of migratory soaring birds, which maintain flight by using rising air currents, travel on the Rift Valley-Dead Sea Flyway annually, according to the RSCN.

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

There are 7,000 hunters in the Kingdom, 3,000 of whom are not registered with the society, according to the RSCN. The location of hunting activities changes with the season, with hunters mainly active in the Jordan Valley, mountainous areas and the eastern desert.