MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region
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MedWetCoast Egypt: Delineation of Site Boundaries
The Road to Halting Bird Hunting in Zaranik
Thursday 29 January 2004, by Web Team

Bird hunting is illegal within Zaranik. Law 102 of protected areas provides the legal framework that regulates all activities within the protected areas. However, quail netting and falcon trapping are activities of the Bedouins of North Sinai who claim traditional ownership rights to the land. According to them, hunting, particularly of migratory birds on an annual basis within Zaranik Protected Area, is perceived as a proof that it is indeed their land.

Officially, all desert lands not under cultivation are state-owned. This is the case in the Zaranik Protected Area. However, local bedouins and members of certain clans living in El-Arish (capital city of the Governorate of Northern Sinai) claim traditional ownership of much of the area although they possess no proper ownership documents to support their claims. Without official documents these traditional claims have no legal standing in Egypt.

Efforts to control the bird-hunting problem have been sporadic, and have posed a major problem. not only because of its impact on biodiversity, but also because of the highly negative image it gives of the Protected Area. The unabated continuation of bird hunting eliminates all potential to establish any viable eco tourism industry in the Protected Area. The complete halting of bird hunting in the Protected Area is the first precondition necessary before launching any attempt to introduce eco tourism or bird watching tourism.

Under pressure from the local communities of North Sinai, it was customary for the Governor to agree to set hunting nets within the protected area. This issue was raised in the validation of the management plan workshop in North Sinai that was attended by the Governor of North Sinai. After intensive negotiations, with the conviction of the benefit of developing eco tourism in Zaranik, he agreed to ban all bird hunting activities within the protected area boundaries for good, providing that the site boundaries are clearly marked. Accordingly, the protected area staff moved fast to delineate the site boundaries according to the coordinates stated in the protected area declaration, to capitalize on this success.

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