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Hunting the Arabian oryx is prohibited in Saudi Arabia. Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia authoritieshave warned against violating hunting rules that prohibiting hunting, harming endangered wild creatures, or publishing video clips and pictures about these practices, local media reported.

This came in a joint statement from Special Forces for Environmental Security and the National Centre for Wildlife Development, considering these practices are in violation of the environmental laws, and attract tough penalties.

The Wildlife Development Centre called on those interested in hunting to adhere to the regulations. “Whoever violates this will face the prescribed penalties, and the Special Forces for Environmental Security and other relevant security authorities will catch the violators and refer them to the authorities to take punitive measures against them,” the statement said.

Saudi Arabia has allowed hunting of wild animals and birds amid strict restrictions between November 1 2020 and January 14 2021. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, represented by the National Centre for Wildlife Development, made the announcement in which it specified the animals that are allowed to be hunted and the areas where the hunting is prohibited.

While reiterating its keenness to implement regulations and laws that preserve wildlife, the ministry underlined the need to take into account several factors while setting out for hunting. These include the prohibition of hunting the Arabian oryx, deer, ibex, and predators such as the Arabian tiger, lynx, wolf, hyena, and other endangered species of animals and birds, as well as birds of prey.

It also instructed that hunting can only be done with air guns licensed in the name of their users. The ministry stressed that it is forbidden to use any other means that lead to catching more than one animal or bird, whether with spray guns, fishing nets, or hunting in unauthorized ways such as using gases, car exhaust, drowning in water or using similar means, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The ministry emphasized the prohibition of hunting of all kinds of animals or birds within the boundaries of cities, villages, towns, farms and rest houses, or any inhabited places, or near cities and military, industrial and vital installations. Hunting is also banned within the peripheries of natural reserves, and giant development projects such as NEOM, the Red Sea, Amaala, Al Qiddiya, the Al-Soudah Reserve, and the Royal Commission for AlUla.

The prohibited areas also cover coasts of the Kingdom with a depth of 20km toward the mainland. Hunting of all types of falcons except Al Hurr falcon are exempted from the prohibition. The ministry prohibited hunting in the Empty Quarter. Hunting is also banned during the night or near land border areas, public roads and railways.