The Pakistan government recently issued seven special permits to Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and his family members to hunt Houbara Bustard bird for the 2020-2021 hunting season. This bird is internationally protected.
- The Prime Minister Imran Khan has opposed such permits for Arab royals in the past. But, he himself approved the special pass this time.
- During 2014, A Saudi prince, Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, had gunned down 1,977 birds on reserved and protected areas in 21 days. His family members killed another 123 birds. Thus, in Total, 2,100 were hunted.
- Following this event, the supreme court of Pakistan had banned the hunting of Houbara Bustard in 2015.
The Houbara Bustard is scientifically known as the Chlamydotis undulata. It is also known as African houbara. The bird is native to North Africa and southwestern Asia. It lives in the arid habitats. In the year 2014, the bird was listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. In the Europe, its population is restricted to the Canary Islands. Since 2015, the bird has been assessed as Near Threatened.
The bird is dull brown and having black markings on the wings. It has a greyish neck and a black ruff along the side of the neck. The Male birds are larger and heavier than female birds.
What were the concerns?
The houbara bustard is hunted by falconers and by hunters with guns in several countries. Because of which, the population has declined in the two decades before 2004. However, with several conservation efforts, the population have been increasing since then.
How they are conserved?
The birds are conserved by the efforts of the global leader called the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IHFC). The global leader has developed global conservation strategy and was implemented over the past forty years. This was implemented with the objective to ensure that this species has a sustainable future.
International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IHFC)
It was created in the year 2006. The IHFC was created in order to further the original programme by managing the international assets. The Houbara conservation programme is also supported by the government of Abu Dhabi.