16 January 2021
Pakistan recently issued special permits to Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and five other members of their family to hunt Houbara Bustard during the 2020-21 hunting season.
- Hunting of Houbara Bustard by Dubai Royals dates back to over four decades.
- It was banned by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2015.
- However, the orders were reversed later.
About Houbara Bustard
- The Houbara Bustard is a large terrestrial bird found in the parts of Asia, Africa and middle east.
- After breeding in central Asia during spring, the Houbara bustards migrate south to spend the winter in Pakistan.
International Fund for Houbara Conservation
According to the International Fund for Houbara Conservation, currently there are only 42,000 Asian Houbara Bustards and 22,000 North African Houbara Bustard.
- Pakistan foreign ministry used to extend yearly invitations to the wealthy and powerful Arabs for hunting the Houbara Bustard in the deserts of Punjab and Balochistan to strengthen their relations with the Arabs.
- The Arabs killed the birds for sport and also for their meat.
- The meat of Houbara Bustard is said to have aphrodisiac qualities.
- Pakistan permits the Arabs to hunt a total of 100 bustards in a designated area during a ten-day safari.
- However, in 2014, a Saudi Arabian prince shot more than thousands of Houbara bustards during a three-week hunting safari.
- This created nationwide outrage from conservationists.
- This resulted in blanket ban on hunting of bustard in 2015
India’s take on hunting:
· Expeditions like these used to take place in India as well in the borders of Rajasthan.
- The practice was banned in 1972.
IUCN Conservation Status:
- Great Indian Bustard: Critically Endangered (IUCN)
- Houbara Bustard: Vulnerable (IUCN)