Pakistan Permits Dubai Royals to Hunt ‘Houbara bustard’

Recently, Pakistan has issued special permission to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Dubai Ruler; the crown prince, and 5 members of the royal family for hunting houbara bustard during the 2020-21 hunting season.

Key Points

  • After the permission, 11 members of the United Arab Emirates’ royal family reached the Panjgur district in Balochistan, Pakistan for hunting the highly vulnerable and internationally protected houbara bustard under Pakistan’s foreign ministry license.
  • This is not the 1st time that Pakistan has allowed royals from the Gulf for hunting houbara bustard.
  • Such hunting expeditions have been for four decades and have continued even the Supreme Court of Pakistan imposed a blanket ban on the killing of the houbara bustard in the year 2015.

What is the houbara bustard?

The houbara bustard is a terrestrial bird found in parts of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The Asian houbara (Chlamydotis macqueenii) and North African houbara (Chlamydotis undulata) are separate species.

After breeding in Central Asia during the spring, Asian houbara bustards migrate to spend the winter in Pakistan, nearby Southwest Asia, and the Arabian peninsula and. Some Asian houbara bustards live and breed in some parts of Pakistan, Iran, and Turkmenistan.

As per the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), approximately 42,000 Asian houbara bustards and around 22,000 of the North African houbara bustards are present today. Unregulated hunting, poaching are the main reasons for the decrease in the population of the birds.