Ministry raises awareness to protect birds in Saudi Arabia

Flamingoes are pictured feeding off a beach north of Kuwait City on October 8, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 14 October 2019

Ministry raises awareness to protect birds in Saudi Arabia

  • There are about 19 species of rare birds that are not found anywhere else in the world except in the Arabian Peninsula

RIYADH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture participated in the celebration of World Migratory Bird Day on Oct. 12. This year’s event, entitled “Protecting Birds: Be the Solution for Plastic Pollution,” coincides with the migration cycle of these birds. The event, which has been celebrated since 2006, includes awareness campaigns on bird protection, an introduction to migratory birds and their habitats and to the Kingdom’s regulations to preserve their seasonal routes.
The ministry said that this year’s event highlights the impact of plastic pollution and the environmental threats faced by birds, as well as the strengthening of international cooperation to protect them. Many international organizations and institutions are establishing programs and activities on this day, including training courses, awareness campaigns and visits to migratory birds’ sites.
It noted that 500 bird species are registered in the Kingdom: 277 species of migratory birds and 223 of nesting birds. There are about 19 species of rare birds that are not found anywhere else in the world except in the Arabian Peninsula, for example the Asir or Arabian magpie, which is one of the rarest birds in the world, with only 100 breeding pairs in Asir. The ministry is working on a national program to protect it from extinction.
The ministry said that the most prominent problems that birds face are the destruction of their breeding and feeding areas, poaching, and land and sea pollution with plastic, metal and other wastes. Plastic waste of is one of the most important risks that wild and sea birds are facing. It is one of the materials consumed by birds because of its similarity to grains of sand or fish eggs.
The Kingdom is one of the most important crossing points for migratory birds, from Asia and Europe to Africa. Millions of birds from 277 species cross Saudi Arabia, and of these, 31 species are on the red list of endangered birds. The Kingdom also plays an important role in maintaining the ecological balance of ecosystems located in their migration’s paths and their food stops during their migration roundtrips. This is an important environmental indicator ascertaining the good functioning of ecosystems around the world.
Birds are used as a fast, accurate and low-cost measure of environmental health. They also offer practical solutions to some problems, such as insect and rodent control, the disposal of dead animals, as well as providing great benefits in transporting seeds and pollen. Beautifully colored and chanting birds add happiness to our lives, and our Arab heritage is rich in describing their beauty.

Comic book fans unite at Stan Lee Super Con in Riyadh

Updated 1 min 6 sec ago

Comic book fans unite at Stan Lee Super Con in Riyadh

RIYADH: The Stan Lee Super Con kick-started at the Riyadh Front, providing a place for comic book fans to express themselves.

The conventions were divided into two parts — Anime Con and the Stan Lee Super Con. The Super Con was a comic nerd’s dream come true, bringing together everything from the Batmobile, the Delorian from “Back to the Future” and the time-traveling Tardis from “Doctor Who.”

The convention also brought together a variety of celebrities, including actors, creators and famous artists.

The comic book artist Bob Layton, best known for his work in Marvel Comics’ “Iron Man” and “Hercules” sat in a booth to give autographs to star-struck fans.

“I am looking forward to seeing Saudi Arabia very much — because of work I haven’t seen much. When I travel, I am more interested in where culture is than where it has been, especially in Saudi Arabia because this country is opening up and it is very exciting,” Layton told Arab News.

“I am very glad to be meeting so many Saudis here, since they come here to see me. Americans have a very warped perception of Muslim countries and I don’t share that because once you get to meet the people you see that we are very much alike.”

He shared his story of how he got into comics, which tells of how useful of a tool comic books can be: He learned how to read by reading comics.

“All the pictures made sense to me and as a child it made me want to understand what was in the text balloons, so I became a reader at the age of four. If they can teach a four-year-old how to read, they can teach a lot of things to a lot of people.

“Part of my achievement as a comic artist is that my work has transcended comics and became global. So, now wherever I go in the world I see that comics have become universal.”

The actor Sam J. Jones, who played the infamous “Flash Gordon” in the 1980 film, was also present.

He said he was thrilled to be in Saudi Arabia for the first time, and was deeply moved by the positive attitude of the Saudi people.

“Even before I stepped in Saudi Arabia I traveled with Saudi Airlines, and even in Los Angeles when I arrived at the ticket counter everybody was smiling, and people haven’t stopped since.

“I did the panel and met people afterward and the fans have been amazing. It is a blessing to be here in Riyadh for the first time, I am used to doing comic cons but this being my first time in Saudi Arabia is amazing and hopefully, there will be more to come.”

Melinda Jean, a cosplayer, walked among the crowd with a magnificent cape, dressed up as the popular villain Hela from “Thor: Ragnarok.” She was extremely excited to be a part of the Super Con, she said.

“I am so excited — it is my first time being in Saudi Arabia. It is so surreal that we are here, and we get to do this. I will be sharing my tips and tricks on how to become a cosplayer and get into cosplay so I will be here all weekend.”