Muscat: Omani authorities said they had arrested a number of citizens for hunting gazelles in violation of the country’s strict wildlife laws.

The violators were referred to prosecution for poaching while the hunted gazelles were confiscated, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs said in a Facebook statement.

The unspecified arrests were made by the ministry’s Wildlife Protection Units in cooperation with the Royal Oman Police and the Environment Conservative Office of the Royal Court.

The ministry urged citizens, expatriates and tourists to preserve wildlife and environment, warning that violations are punishable by a 2003 royal decree.

Killing, hunting or smuggling protected animals and birds is punishable in the Sultanate by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of 5,000 Omani riyals.