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New animal safety regulations enforced at ancient Petra site in Jordan

New regulations have been enforced with the help of the Four Paws charity at the tourist site in Petra in Jordan to protect the horses and donkeys that are used to transport holidaymakers. The site is home to more than 1,300 horses and donkeys, and new stables and shaded rest areas have been created at the entrance of the site along with a renovated clinic to treat injured animals.

New animal safety regulations enforced at ancient Petra site in Jordan

Animals at the tourist site Petra in Jordan will now be better looked after, thanks to the enforcement of new regulations by the Four Paws animal charity. Horses and donkeys are regularly used to transport holidaymakers around the famous red city.

Many of the 1,300 horses and donkeys have been mistreated and exhausted by their owners, but the new regulations means they could lose their permits if found to be abusing the animals.

Heli Dungler, the president of Four Paws explained:

"A lot of people in Europe called us and complained about the situation here in Petra with horses. Two years ago, more or less, it was a disaster."

Last year, the Vienna-based international animal charity Four Paws partnered with the Princess Alia Foundation in Jordan for a project that would improve the treatment of animals at the site in Jordan.

Owners of horses and donkeys who make their animals gallop or carry heavy loads will now face being sanctioned. New stables and shaded areas where animals can rest have been created at the entrance of the site, and a clinic has been renovated and equipped to look after injured animals.

Dungler added:

"Here they can recover and regain their strength. Along with the new regulations, this has allowed us to take the first steps to improving conditions for the horses working in Petra."

Visitor numbers to Petra have dropped by a third in the last five years. In 2010, 900,000 visitors were recorded, but in 2015, just 315,000 people visited the site. The tourism industry in Jordan has been affected by the conflicts in its neighbouring countries of Iraq and Syria.

The ancient city of Petra was built by Nabataeans more than 2,000 years ago, and it is one of the most popular attractions in Jordan. Knowns as the “Rose City” due to its pink coloured stone, Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site situated between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. The city is half carved into the rock, and is home to gorges, winding passages and ancient temples, including Al Khazne.

To encourage visitors, the government in Jordan waved the visa fee for all nationalities, whether they are travelling with tour operators or independently, on the condition that they spend two consecutive nights in the country.

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