Saudi mulls armed drones to curb wildlife hunting

Wildlife Authority says it is seeking skilled pilots to control anti-hunting drones
Saudi mulls armed drones to curb wildlife hunting
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Daniel Shane
Fri 14 Jun 2013 11:18 AM

Saudi Arabia is considering using drones to curb unauthorised hunting in its wildlife reserves, it has been reported.

English language paper Arab News said that the head of the Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) had called an urgent board meeting in Riyadh as the organisation seeks pilots capable of controlling such craft.

Prince Bandar bin Saud said that the SWA had been given state approval to arm the drones. “Our staff has been training with weapons for two years,” he was quoted as saying.

He added that individuals were only permitted to acquire wild animals such as leopards and lions via royal decree. Prince Bandar said that violations of wildlife laws had fallen in recent years, but were still in their “dozens”, with some rare species smuggled in via Yemen.

The report in Arab News did not indicate when the drones would start operation, how many there would be, or where they would be deployed.

A news report earlier this year claimed that young cheetahs were on sale at markets in neighbouring Qatar for $10,000, despite local laws against keeping wild animals as pets.

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