The Jordan gazelle massacre

The Jordan gazelle massacre
2 min read
20 Jan, 2016
Ten gazelles in Jordan have been shot dead by hunters and paraded in front of cameras. The incident has caused outrage in the country who want the men prosecuted.
Hunting is a popular pastime in the Gulf region [AFP]

Laid out like trophies, perhaps a dozen lifeless gazelles are sprawled in front of a small crowd of cheering men.

The picture was taken in Jordan, on the border with Syria.

Among a convoy of cars are Qatari number plates leading many to believe the principle hunters were from the Gulf state.

Some of the slaughtered animals are draped across the bonnet of one car leaving streaks of blood on the white "off-roader" hood.

Many questions have arisen after the Jordan gazelle massacre, but the chief one is how did this happen?

Jordan's opponents have frequently alleged that the border area with Syria is a place where rebels operate unharrassed and gun smuggling is rampant.

Some have asked how a group of armed men could get so close to the Syrian border and even sceptics believe a serious security breach has taken place.

Others want the hunters prosecuted for destroying some of the last remnants of native wildlife in Jordan, a country where tourism is a critical industry.
Amman has banned Gulf citizens from bringing falcons for hunting into the kingdom

Mostly, social media users have alleged that a crime has taken place but believe that the police are unlikely to prosecute the accused.

One hunter and photographer at Jordan University told Jordan Times that ten gazelles were killed by the party and hunting is illegal in the area the killings took place.

Amman has banned Gulf citizens from bringing falcons for hunting into the kingdom although the killing of endangered species is said to be still common.

Jordan, which is home to a number of endangered animals - including a species of gazelle - has attempted to reintroduce the oryx back to the wild after it was wiped out by hunters.

Gulf citizens are keen hunters, and visit Pakistan and other Arab countries to catch mammals such as gazelle and deer.

Much of the native game in the Arabian Peninsula was killed off from hunting, particularly after the proliferation of rifles and advent of off-road vehicles during the mid-20th century.

In December, a Qatari hunting party was kidnapped in southern Iraq by unknown gunmen.