Saudi Environmentalists Warn Against Lizard Over-Hunting

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dubai- (PanOrient News) Saudi Arabian Wildlife Conservation activists have warned against the danger of over-hunting the dhabb or dabb, lizard as many young Saudis regard the month of May as high season for a meat that is considered a delicacy and provides the successful hunter with status.

The dabb is a spiny-tailed desert lizard found in the Arabian Peninsula. The tail is used for defense but is also where fat is stored. The increasing demand to show prowess in the number of dabb caught in one day, has lead to various hunting methods. Once shot, chased, caught by hand or by traps, competition has invented new methods.

Abdul Rahman al-mqati, a young man of Dwadmi prefecture, told Alarabiya net that he comes out every week with his rifle to hunt with his companions. He described other methods that were popular - flooding the burrows with water to kill large numbers of the lizard and the most dangerous method directing car exhaust which at the entrance of the Lizards den to force them out where they could easily be caught.

A lizard is priced at 20-50 riyals (USD5 – 14), depending on its size and weight. Major habitats of the dabb are in the desert prefectures of Afeef and Dawadmi Hafr al-Baten. It lives mainly on desert grass, and can go without water for long periods of time despite the harsh climate in the desert.

Displaying numbers of lizards on the sides of vehicles and roads has become a source of achievement and pride among young people, one person hunted and killed more than 300 lizards in one day, according to Alarabiya net.

Faihan al- Aydh, a researcher and academician, told the Saudi owned Alarabiya net that excessive hunting of the lizard will lead to complete extinction of the dabb. He called on the authorities to set up private farms for breeding and to educate the community about the danger of over-hunting. He believes violators should be punished.

While many websites promote hunting tours and provide details on how to kill them, other sites in Arabic have started to call on people to take a break from what they called "the Lizzard annual genocide in May". They said most of the hunted meat is trashed because it is only good when eaten fresh.

Interestingly, the Saudi National Commission for Wildlife Conservation, very clearly stipulates a policy of protection of the lizard from excessive hunting.

PanOrient News

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