Hunting for endangered Houbara Bustard is underway in four provinces of Pakistan with many raising voice to protect this rare specie that is facing extinction at the hands of hunters, who have been issued 30 licences for this season.
In winter season Pakistan hosts one class of migratory bird — houbara bustard — but on the other hand it also receives foreign hunters who mostly come here to hunt this endangered specie.
The houbara comes for the climate; the foreign hunters come for the houbara and issuance of permits legally allow them to hunt in designated areas and many believe that their sole interest in the sport lies in what the poor bird’s meat contains and not the hunt itself.
The houbara bustard is a rare shy bird adapted to arid conditions with little vegetation and found in stony and sandy desert and semi-desert regions. They are classified as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List 2004 because it has undergone rapid population declines over recent years due to unsustainable hunting levels and habitat degradation.
The experts opined that the specie of houbara bustard is endangered not just because of falconry but also due to illegal netting, trapping and poaching. The hunters are not ready to accept that they hunt houbara bustards for its alleged aphrodisiac properties and instead they argued that falconry is their tradition and more than a sport.