Our Natural Heritage is Vanishing

Post by John Peaveler

In 2011, there was a meeting held between the Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and Their Habitat (K’S PATH) and en.v, a Kuwaiti social responsibility organization. The purpose of that meeting was to discuss how, with limited sponsorship and very limited government support, the two organizations could work together to provide real, tangible, and lasting protection for some of the last remaining coastal habitat areas in Kuwait Bay. The result, after much discussion, was the joint venture Al Yaal, whose mission would be to conduct hands-on conservation in three coastal habitats, document those efforts, and educate the population of Kuwait about the needs of our fragile environment. From the beginning, we didn’t know if the program would work. There was no way to predict whether or not our work would be enough to improve the environment we set out to protect, nor whether or not we would be able to engage the community to conserve coastal areas they had never seen before and had no vested interest in. The program was destined from the beginning to be a small, grass-roots effort to protect something we all knew would vanish if no one fought for it. The results would be surprising in more ways than one.

K’S PATH has been around now for about ten years, providing animal sheltering, education, lobbying, habitat protection, consultancy, and more. People who interact with us for the first time are often surprised that an organization like ours exists, not just because we help animals, but even more so because we are so professional in the way we work. Their surprise is understandable, because in general, we don’t make a lot of noise. We are able to do all of the things we do, and do them well, because we invest most of our time and effort into our programs and have very little left over for publicity. We brought this same focus and dedication to the Al Yaal program. There are many organizations that clean beaches in Kuwait, and they all deserve commendation for doing so. What most of them have in common is that they clean beaches humans use for recreation. With our animal and environment-centric focus, we wanted to protect areas that are important coastal habitat, so we started doing some research to see what areas were the most at risk of pollution and encroachment. Through a process of interviews and observation, we selected three beach areas notable for their plant life, their bird life, their animal life, their lack of development, lack of human visitation, and heavy pollution. Two sites were chosen in Sulaibikhat area, and one in the Doha area.

K’S PATH has always operated with a simple philosophy: planning and hard work equals results. Planning for this program included hiring program manager Angelique Bhattacharjie-Jeremiah, purchasing equipment, organizing volunteers, getting ministry permits, and coordinating between the different organizations involved. By April of 2011, planning was complete and the hard work began. Cleaning a beach with the idea of habitat preservation in mind is a meticulous job. Heavy equipment and teams of laborers play no part in removing waste from a sensitive habitat. Each item of waste has to be carefully removed by hand without destroying or even damaging plants or animal dens. The pace is slow, the temperature grueling, and success comes at a snails pace. Despite dozens of bags of garbage collected, it’s difficult to notice any improvement after the first few cleanups. Still, the volunteers kept coming.

The Al Yaal concept doesn’t rely upon a single body or group of volunteers. Instead, a different social group, school, or society is involved in each clean up, thereby maximizing the number of people who participate in this important project. After all, participation is an incredibly effective form of education, and engaging so many different people from so many different walks of life helped tremendously in breaking up the tedium of our efforts. K’S PATH staff and dedicated program volunteers in particular deserve a very hearty thank you for their consistent hard work (they were present at nearly every clean up for two years), but even after the first dozen clean ups, nothing much seemed to change. Sans instant gratification, we just kept working. And working. And working. All told, we came back 45 times and cleaned up over 5 tons of waste at Doha beach alone. The task was arduous, but rewarding.

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Bahraini family robbed of lion in Kuwait

Post by Mark

A Bahraini family in Kuwait escaped unhurt when armed GCC nationals robbed them of a lion and 35,000 riyals, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily. It all started after the family members bought a lion for 40,000 riyals from an unspecified GCC country. Unknown to other members of the family, a 14-year old member was interacting with one of the suspects who offered to pay 47,000 riyals for the lion, although the boy informed his uncle about it later.

Upon their arrival to the country, the family contacted the man and set a date to complete negotiation and purchase, but they were surprised when seven people pulled knives and threatened to stab them. One of the suspects had even fired gun shots in the air as warning until they fled the scene with the lion and aforementioned money. The family lodged a complaint in the police station immediately and pictures of the suspects were displayed on Instagram. The search is ongoing to arrest them. [Source]

I thought people were smuggling exotic animals into Kuwait but turns out they just drive them over the border…

Photo not related.


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Police capture lion roaming in Bayan

Post by Mark

Luckily it didn’t attack anyone but will most likely still get deported. Kuwaitiful has more information [Here]


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Plan to ban wild animals

Post by Mark

The Interior Ministry in cooperation with the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) is said to be looking for ‘pet’ wild animals which put at risk the lives of citizens and residents, reports Al- Anba daily. The authorities have called on residents and citizens to notify them if they are aware of any wild animals in their vicinity. The daily added, the authorities plan to confiscate wild (pet) animals and punish their keepers.

This is done in the best interests and safety of the people. The sources added the Kuwaiti Penal Code punishes those who neglect animals and the civil law punishes the owner by forcing him to compensate the victim if attacked by the wild animal.

The source pointed the concerned authorities have received several complaints accusing people of breeding wild animals such as tigers, lions and crocodiles. Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti man shot dead a crocodile with a bullet to his head after the reptile crept into his house recently in Salwa, reports Al-Rai daily.

According to reports the man was at work and his maid called him to say she could not enter the house because a big lizard was in the doorway. The man rushed home and found the ‘pet’ crocodile which had reportedly escaped from its keep from a neighboring house. [Source]

It’s about damn time.

via desertgirl


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Life of Birds

Post by Mark

[Vimeo]

All the birds in the video were recorded in different places around Kuwait. I knew there were a bunch of bird enthusiasts in Kuwait and after watching the short film I understand why. Who knew we had so many unique birds here? The film was shot by Jassim Muqeem and you can check out more of his stuff on his website [Here]


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Kuwait Law: Animal Rights

Post by Fajer Ahmed

With the very recent unfortunate animal mass murder event in Kuwait, I wanted to discuss the very unfortunate laws that regulate animal abuse in Kuwait.

The Kuwaiti constitution does not mention any animal rights.
The Kuwaiti penal (criminal law) does not specify that the abuse of animals is a crime.

However the only law that discusses the killing of an animal is article 253 of the criminal law:

A person who kills an animal owned by another, gives it a poisonous or harmful substance, injures it, makes it useless or decreases its benefits, deliberately and unjustifiable shall be punished up to 2 years of imprisonment and/or shall pay up to 2000 rupees

People make the mistake to think that the above article makes animal abuse a crime, it does not. The article specifies that the animal has to belong to someone so there is no regards for stray dogs. The article also specifies that the animal has to belong to someone other than the abuser. So if someone tortures their own dog, they are not punished.

Situation A

Person X kills the dog of person Y, with intent and for no reason. Person X is a criminal.

Situation B

Person X kills a stray dog, person X is not a criminal.

If you are wondering why the article is written that way, its because animals are defined in Kuwaiti law as a materialistic item, in other words… an object. Your dog is considered to be like your phone, your car or like your laptop. Animals in other countries are considered living creatures while in Kuwait the article above on animal killing is located under vandalism in the penal law.

Some of laws are appalling and I am trying think of ways we can get them to change the one on animal abuse. Here are my suggestions on how we could possibly have them change the law (please email me if you have other ideas):

1- Talk to the parliament members, whether you voted for them or against them, whether you believe in voting or not, talk to them, they legally represent the whole nation, Kuwaiti and non Kuwaiti, individual or an organization. CALL THEM. WRITE TO THEM! http://www.kna.kw/clt/index.asp (the site is getting more interactive, ask for their numbers, or email me I have some)

2- Call or write to the municipality http://www.baladia.gov.kw/cbox/

3- Protest, write or sign a petition, ask for a decree (its way more efficient and faster than a law)

Sometimes a situation must happen for a new decree, law or bylaw to be enforced or issues. Let this be one.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
Have a Kuwait law related question? Email me at ask@fajerthelawyer.com

The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Instagram under fire for allowing sale of animals

Post by Mark

Two articles, one on PetaPixel the other at the Daily Mail. Both include photos from Kuwaiti Instagram accounts…

Thanks Wishbone


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Dogs being massacred in Kuwait

Post by John Peaveler


[YouTube] Warning: Graphic video of dogs being shot

About a year ago, I was asked by Mark to post on his blog from time to time on issues related to animals in Kuwait. I don’t get a chance to post very often, and when I do, it’s usually on an issue that’s particularly important to me or K’S PATH, the organization where I work. This particular post was prompted by what is certainly the most prolific case of animal abuse I’ve yet witnessed during my tenure in Kuwait.

On Friday, the 2nd of August 2013, a three-year-old girl was attacked by a pack of at least six stray dogs in Khairan area. The victim incurred serious although not life-threatening injuries, and has been reported to be recovering well. While the management of K’S PATH holds the victim and her family in its thoughts and prayers and extends its heartfelt condolence in this difficult time, the ensuing inhumane and brutal massacre of more than 80 reported stray dogs (to date) perpetrated by a group of individuals must not be condoned.

This statement questions the nature and objective of actions taken in retaliation to the attack, offers an insight into the nature of Kuwait’s stray dog overpopulation crisis, discusses the shortcomings of official animal control methods adopted to date, and concludes by proposing a long-term, safe and effective alternative successfully tested by K’S PATH.

The mauling and risk of assault of an individual by a pack of stray dogs is a serious concern that warrants definitive action by the relevant authorities to safeguard the community through humane measures – which in this case is incumbent upon the Public Authority for Agriculture and Fish Resources (PAAFR). PAAFR currently lacks the funding, equipment, or expertise to implement and enforce preventive and remedial measures. In most cases of such nature, members of the community approach K’S PATH as it is presently the sole organization with demonstrated capability in capturing and handling stray dogs in Kuwait.

Unfortunately in the aftermath of the recent incident, some of the individuals involved chose another route by taking matters into their own hands through vigilante actions. As this statement goes to press, there are conflicting reports of as many as 80 dogs shot or killed so far; some of them by stabbing, running over, and dismemberment or decapitation.

This original group of animal abusers blatantly publicized their actions on Instagram in a boastful fashion with graphic imagery of cadavers of murdered dogs, which further encouraged other individuals to follow suit by killing more dogs in what appears to have now taken a form of barbaric competition to slaughter as many dogs as possible to seemingly ‘avenge’ the attack on the little girl.

Indisputably and as a responsible measure to avert recurrences, the dogs that attacked the girl should have been identified, captured, and humanely euthanized (killed using a ‘good’ process of death). In fact, none of the dogs roaming Kuwait’s streets belong here.

What we must ask ourselves as a concerned community is whether a responsible and sustainable solution to Kuwait’s stray dog overpopulation lies with the impulsive and brutal recourse of a few individuals with hatchets, shotguns, rifles, and knives running around on a violent campaign of death, or whether we should instead adopt a more effective, humane and safer form of animal control.

Personally, I don’t believe Kuwait has any need to resort to violence to solve this problem. In point of fact, I have spent the last four years developing a program of animal control for Kuwait that is humane and effective, with the purpose in mind of making our communities safer.

In Kuwait, and across many countries, the initial program of animal control adopted used lethal gunshot. However, program administrators and field technicians soon concluded that gunshot is messy, ugly, dangerous for the community, and ineffective in two ways. Firstly, in order to ensure the death of an animal, the projectile must pass through the brain and enter the spinal cord. Any other single shot is very likely to merely injure or cripple the animal causing great suffering and potentially creating a more desperate, aggressive animal. Secondly, it is nearly impossible to eradicate an entire group of stray dogs through this method because dogs will not tolerate the sound of a gunshot. The dogs that flee will be extremely difficult or impossible to catch, eventually becoming what in this field is termed ‘capture resistant’. Gunshot did not last as a form of dog control in Kuwait for these very pragmatic reasons, and it is now forbidden for anyone to shoot dogs.

As gunshot was phased out, poisoning became the preferred method of control. It still is, though it is in the process of being replaced with the method I will propose last. Poisoning fails as a medium for dog control because only a fraction of the intended number of dogs will eat it. Of those who do ingest it, not all of them will die because quantity consumed is a crucial factor. Poison is extremely inhumane to the animal as it takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 72 hours to kill, again depending on dosage, rate of digestion, etc. Furthermore, poison will kill a stray dog as easily as an owned dog as well as a fox, a cat, an eagle, or a child. It is entirely indiscriminate.

Lethal gunshot and poisoning as forms of dog control have never been used effectively as a large-scale, long-term form of population control anywhere in the world. They have been used to affect short-term reduction in the overall population size, but they have never solved a large-scale dog problem. Both have been tried for many years in Kuwait with neither succeeding, leaving no possibility that either one will suddenly solve our stray dog problem. The most important factors to consider with these two forms of dog control are that they are unsafe, ineffective, and inhumane. Furthermore, they are outdated and have no place in the modern world. It is the equivalent of investing in steam technology to power our busses when there are much safer and frankly better methods available.

K’S PATH has the answers to this problem; we’ve painstakingly developed them over the course of many years. Read on to find out more.

Warning: Graphic photos below of the massacre after the link

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Kuwait laws you don’t need to know: Who let the dogs out?

Post by Fajer Ahmed

As inspiration from an app called “The Dumbest Laws” I have decided to make a series of posts called “Kuwait laws you don’t need to know” so I could inform you on things you don’t need to be informed on. I don’t know how many of these posts I can come up with but one of my favorite things to do while working is finding and reading these weird laws.

So anyways, here is the first one, it’s an excerpt from an officially translated version (ignore their grammatical errors) of Law No.9 from 1969 “With Regards To The Possession of Dogs and Preventive Measures Against Rabies”:

Article 1
Possession of dogs is not permitted unless a license is obtained from the Ministry of Health

Article 2
License of one or more dogs requires an application to be submitted to the competent veterinary center giving the following details:

1- Name of applicant, title, age, nationality and address
2- The location where the dog will be kept
3- Breed of dog, color and distinctive marks
4- The source of where the dog was imported

Article 5
A collar with a metal plate shall be put around each dog, giving the serial number referred to, the plates are obtained from competent veterinary free of charge, the dog owner should request a replacement, in which case he will have to pay 250 fils.

If a dog is arrested without a plate it will be sent to the Dog Detainment Center, and will not be handed to the owner, unless he requests so 7 days from the day of arrest, and pays a fee of KD1

Article 6
All dogs of all types shall not be left in public places without being controlled with a mask on their mouth

Article 15
The provisions herein apply to Kuwait City. The City of Kuwait with regards to the implementation of this article means the vicinities surrounded by the third ring road, the Health and Educational Areas and the Sulbikhat area, unless the dog belongs to a Bedouin as watch or hunt dogs, whether the owners live in the city or the desert

Article 16
Violators of this law will be liable to a maximum term of one month imprisonment maximum and/or KD30 fine.

Keep in mind, this was back in 1969.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
Have a Kuwait law related question? Email me at ask@fajerthelawyer.com

The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Lion Cub cruising in Bida’a

Post by Mark

One of these days an exotic animal is going to maul a driver and only then will anyone think about banning them. [Link]


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