The Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) has seized 1,869 birdcall devices that are used by hunters to trap migratory birds. In October last year, the authority had seized 768 such devices.
The devices emit sounds that attract birds, which are then hunted down.
A top official has detailed the risks its inspectors take to confiscate the banned devices. Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the EPAA, said: “The External Inspection Department teams face many challenges and risks while confiscating these devices during the migration season, but they address them efficiently and competently.”
The migration season began in October. Among the main challenges inspectors face are:
>> Physical injury risks: Hunters often leave devices on top of trees, forcing inspectors to climb them. Some devices are planted under shrubs, where poisonous snakes and insects are found.
>> Traps: Some inspectors are injured because of lock traps and barbed wires placed around the devices.
>> Fog and rain: Fog hinders visibility, while rains leave terrains slippery.
>> Freezing cold: Inspectors often encounter temperatures of between 13 and 10°C.
>> Rough terrain: Mountainous and rugged terrains leave inspectors’ vehicles vulnerable to tyre bursts.
What are birdcall devices?
They imitate the sounds of birds to entice large groups to a place where hunters would have placed traps. The Curlew, an endangered species, is an easy prey as it flies in from long distances on hearing the sounds emitted by the device.
It is prohibited to possess, sell or use such devices for hunting. Violators are penalised with up to Dh10,000 in fines. The fine is doubled for repeat violators.