(MENAFN - Arab News) Â The Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) is considering using drones to curb unauthorized hunting in the country's wildlife reserves.
Prince Bandar bin Saud, head of the SWA, said during a board meeting recently at the organization's headquarters in Riyadh, that the authority urgently needs capable pilots for around the clock surveillance.
He said there were fewer violations than previous years but still running into the "dozens."
He said the SWA is mandated to safeguard the country's assets. "The authority has state approval to be armed. Our staff has been training with weapons for two years."
Only a royal decree allows people to buy wild animals such as leopards and lions, Prince Bandar said. "Acquiring wild animals for research and circuses is permitted if they are licensed. All other cases would constitute a violation of the law."
All patrols and staff on duty are monitored by satellite. "Awareness campaigns will be held on the importance of preserving wildlife and biodiversity." He said the SWA also plans to conduct inspections at taxidermy shops to catch violators.
He said the SWA was aware that wild and sometimes rare species such as leopards, lions, deer and birds are smuggled from Yemen into the Kingdom. "The authority will soon launch a unit of volunteers with defined programs to help it in its mission," said Prince Bandar.
The SWA has a budget of over SR 190 million and plans to provide more jobs for citizens and the youth.