Saudi Arabia bans hunting of migratory birds to combat avian influenza

Updated 20 January 2018
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Saudi Arabia bans hunting of migratory birds to combat avian influenza

RIYADH: With thousands of migratory birds flocking into the Kingdom from all parts of the globe during the winter, the Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) is enforcing its ban on the hunting of birds to help prevent avian influenza.
According to an official from the SWA, the birds come from western and eastern Europe, and West Asia. “They normally dwell in the Eastern Province, Red Sea coast and in the central part of the Kingdom where there is greenery during their stay,” he said.
The migratory birds include houbara bustards, passerines, flamingos, pelicans, cranes and turtle doves.
They stay temporarily, mainly in Al-Hair in Riyadh, Al-Asfar Lake, Jubail Marine Protected Area, Domat Al-Jandal in Al-Jouf, Farasan Islands and Wadi Aljizan. They will leave at the start of spring.
The official said that the Kingdom had lately identified sporadic incidents of avian flu and the government did not want to risk its recurrence through the hunting of migratory birds. The ban on hunting of birds was only a preventive measure, he said, pointing out that there was a possibility they could carry the virus and spread the disease in their temporary nests.
The hunting regulations are implemented by the SWA in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior. Hunters should also obtain their licenses to hunt and should tell the authorities about the areas of their hunting expedition.
Hunting is banned in protected areas of SWA, the Empty Quarter and in places close to urban settlements.
Hunters are also not allowed to use firearms but can lay traps to catch rabbits. They are also allowed to hunt with hounds and falcons.
According to the Kingdom’s conservation plans, hunters have been advised to refrain from killing endangered species such as the oryx, gazelle, ibex, the Arabian leopard, and the ostrich.
Last week, incidences of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) were reported in Riyadh, Dammam and Al-Ahsa.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Aseeri, assistant deputy minister of health for preventive medicine, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is a major route for bird migration and that the virus probably got into the country through migratory birds.


White House adviser Jared Kushner: Saudi Arabia is 'important ally'

Updated 22 October 2018
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White House adviser Jared Kushner: Saudi Arabia is 'important ally'

WASHINGTON: Speaking about Saudi Arabia's investigation into the case of the late Jamal Khashoggi, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said that the Trump administration is still in "fact-finding phase."

"We're getting facts in from multiple places and once those facts come in, the secretary of state will work with our national security team to help us determine what we want to believe, and what we think is credible and what we think is not credible," Kushner said on Monday

"We have our eyes wide open. The president's focused on what's good for America, what are our strategic interests, where do we share interests with other countries let's work towards those," he added.

Kushner stressed that Saudi Arabia was an "important ally" of the US, and a "critical partner," especially in countering Iran's influence in the Middle East.

Kushner also said he had spoken to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the case.