Ramallah: A group of Palestinians stoned a hyena to death on a road leading to the city of Hebron in the south of the West Bank recently.

The Palestinian Wildlife Association, which branded the killing of the animal a heinous and shameful crime, warned that the inevitable extinction of the hyena in Palestine is just a matter of time.


“Two hyenas are reported murdered in Palestine annually which is a serious threat to the existence of this animal,” said Ebrahim Odeh, the association’s deputy director. “The hyena is not dangerous. The animal does not attack humans and its existence in the natural environment is fundamental as the animal feeds on animal cadavers and creates a necessary natural balance.”

Odeh said that the act was not only disgraceful but revealed the kind of ignorance prevailing in society. “If a hyena is reported to have been spotted, it is searched for and murdered. This is the reality for these animals in Palestine,” he told Gulf News. “Should the status quo continue, we will lose this species in Palestine very, very shortly.”

Odeh highlighted the need to conduct field research to determine the numbers of remaining hyenas in Palestine. He said that no such studies exist but that observations of wildlife experts clearly confirm that hyena numbers are declining sharply. “There is no Palestinian law that protects animals, and that gives the public a free hand to handle such precious species mercilessly and remorselessly,” he said.

Odeh said the way the Hebron hyena was killed was disgraceful, awful and ugly.

“The murder of a hyena cannot be attributed in any way to self-defence and is merciless behaviour,” he said, adding that the Palestinian mentality had gained a great deal of violence from the Israeli occupation.

“It is the sole responsibility of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to protect the nature of Palestine and to not give such ignorant people a chance to harm Palestine’s precious treasures,” he said.