UAE: New law regulating wildlife hunting – News

UAE: New law regulating wildlife hunting – News

Traditional hunting is restricted to open areas while avoiding prohibited places such as nature reserves, forests, residential, military areas

Photo: File

Photo: File

Published: Mon 29 Nov 2021, 12:29 PM

Authorities have introduced a new law regulating wildlife hunting in Abu Dhabi to protect and preserve national heritage.

On Monday, the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi issued a local decree amending the executive regulations issued by Resolution No. (69) of 2015 for Local Law No. (22) of 2005 regarding the regulation of hunting in Abu Dhabi.

The law is currently being implemented by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD).

The Executive Council Decision No. (5) of 2021 regarding amendments to the executive regulations of the Hunting Law in Abu Dhabi will support the hunting sector in its efforts to preserve the heritage of traditional hunting in Abu Dhabi. This also helps in ensuring that this old age Arab tradition and its values are passed on to the current and future generations while ensuring respect for the legal and environmental framework.

The updates to the law will also emphasise enhancing the economic value of natural resources by diversifying and enhancing investment opportunities in the environment sector while ensuring traditions such as falconry comply with international environmental sustainability standards.

The decision exempts all hunters and operates from the “Species Conservation Fee” and cancels it from the executive regulations issued in accordance with Executive Council Resolution No. (69) of 2015.


Additionally, the decision stipulates that EAD shall issue guidelines and conditions for hunting using traditional methods outside the designated hunting areas determined by EAD. This involves prohibiting hunting within the borders of protected areas, rangelands, or near restricted areas as specified in Article (4) of the Local Law No. (22) of 2005. The traditional hunting permit to be issued by EAD would include the terms and conditions for permission to hunt, such as the details of the license holder, the seasons and areas of hunting, the species licensed for hunting.

The permit would also emphasise additional legal provisions regarding the conservation of species and promote sustainable hunting.

EAD outlines species allowed to be hunted and rules to follow

  • According to the decision, EAD, as the competent authority, outlined the species allowed to be hunted by falconers. This includes Houbara birds only.
  • Hunting is permitted using falcons licensed and registered with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and that proof of their registration is submitted if requested.
  • Traditional hunting is restricted to open areas while avoiding prohibited places such as nature reserves, forests, residential, military and petroleum production areas by more than a distance of no less than 2 km.
  • EAD stressed the need for the licensee to abide by the period specified for hunting, with permits issued for one season only.
  • EAD will also start licensing wild hunting for this season until the end of February 28, 2022. This is in accordance with the terms and conditions set by EAD being the competent authority,

What is prohibited

  • It is prohibited to hunt any wild animal and cause its disturbance.
  • It is also forbidden to drive vehicles over and cause damage to vegetation. Furthermore, it is prohibited to transfer a hunting permit to another person.
  • The permit must be carried while hunting and presented upon request.

Conditions that must be met to obtain a wild hunting permit:

  • The applicant must be a citizen of the United Arab Emirates and be at least 18 years old.
  • The application for a wild hunting permit is submitted through the EAD e-mail at the following address: [email protected].

The Law No. (22) of 2005 on hunting in Abu Dhabi came to lay down a legal framework for hunting activities. This is to ensure that they are within the environmental controls and standards consistent with the supreme goals and efforts to preserve and conserve wild animal species in a manner that does not conflict with the sustainability of their numbers in their natural habitats.

The law contributes to protecting the heritage of falconry, protecting wild animals, preserving hunting areas, optimising wildlife resources and developing them according to an integrated vision that meets environmental sustainability standards.

The law is in line with other local and federal environmental laws to ensure adequate biodiversity protection while maintaining local culture and traditions, directly or indirectly dependent on the natural resources.

The Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi is currently creating a model for hunting in Abu Dhabi benchmarked against the international standards and best practices from across the world, ranging from Europe, Africa, the United States, Canada to countries from the Arab region.

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