Birdwatching ‘opens up new horizons’ for Jordan’s wildlife tourism

Monday, September 7, 2020

The mesmerising scenes of Jordan’s feathered visitors marking the beginning of the autumn bird migration season, “open up new horizons” for the Kingdom’s wildlife tourism, according to Director of the Bird Project Department at the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) Tariq Qaneer.

“Birdwatching is not a new concept in the local tourism industry and even though it shows potential, it is still not a popular tourism product in the Kingdom,” Qaneer told The Jordan Times over the phone on Tuesday.

Qaneer said that the RSCN would conduct a birdwatching guides training session in October aiming at promoting Jordan’s birding hotspots in the local communities, enhancing the thrill in the birders’ experiences, and contributing to the local economy.

Birding is a practical wildlife activity that protects biodiversity, deepens people’s intimate connection with the environment and promotes pro-social behaviour, Qaneer said.

Birdwatching translates to an economic boost given the birders’ spending on a variety of trip-related purchases, therefore it contributes to creating sustainable jobs for people from the local community, while safeguarding the future of migratory birds, he said.

“Birds play a vital role in the ecosystem, whereas they are an important indicator of environmental health and productivity. The increase or decrease in the numbers of birds indicate a change in biodiversity,” according to an RSCN statement made available to The Jordan Times on Sunday.

Qaneer said in an RSCN statement that certain types of migratory birds fly an incredible 50,000 kilometres per year, while other types continue to fly nonstop for almost 100 hours using their accurate compass systems that enable them to maintain certain directions and destinations, adding that some other types have day and night flights without having any breaks.

The Jordan Valley is a key part of the Rift Valley-Red Sea Flyway that functions as a “bridge” that connects Europe, Africa and Asia, supporting a variety of “unique” habitats, in addition to being a primary pathway for millions of migratory birds that cross it annually, according to the RSCN.

“Jordan has access to some of the best birdwatching spots that enable bird enthusiasts to experience the interwoven connection between migratory birds, including Dana, Aqaba, Azraq, Al Shomari and Southern Shuneh,” Qaneer added.

Source: Jordan Times