Alpine Ibex
Alpine Ibex Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s public prosecution warned of heavy penalties that include a jail term of up to 10 years and fines up to 30 million riyals against those who hunt and slaughter wild mountain goats, state news agency SPA reported.

The warning followed the circulation of two videos showing men hunting, slaughtering and skinning a wild mountain goat, also called mountain ibex, on social media.

Three men shared a video of themselves with a live wild goat while they were on a hunting trip to Baljurashi Province in Al Baha Region, south-western Saudi Arabia. This goat was returned to the authorities.

The second video shows the footage of men while slaughtering and skinning the wild goat. The two videos sparked a stir in the Kingdom where hunting endangered animals is banned and criminalised.

Security authorities arrested the three men, including two Saudis and an Afghan. Prosecutors warned of heavy penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to 30 million Saudi riyals against ibex hunters.

Ahmed Al Bouq, adviser to the CEO of the National Centre for Wildlife Development, said the first video has been proved to be true. The suspects were arrested and referred to the public prosecutor. He added the second video, which shows the slaughtering of a mountain goat appears to be old, and investigation is underway.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s National Centre for Wildlife Development released 20 mountain goats into the Al Shukran Park of Baljurashi in western Al Baha region.

The initiative is aimed at raising environmental awareness, enhancing the region’s biodiversity and protecting the kingdom’s endangered animal species.