The Pakistan government has issued special permits to Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and six other members of the ruling family to hunt the internationally protected bird houbara bustard during the 2020-21 hunting season.
What is the houbara bustard?
- The houbara bustard, a large terrestrial bird found in parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
- It is known to migrate in thousands to the Indian subcontinent every winter.
- In fact, it is similar to the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard, which is native to India.
- After breeding during the spring season, the Asian bustards migrate south to spend the winter in Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula and nearby Southwest Asia.
- Some Asian houbara bustards live and breed in the southern part of their ranges including parts of Iran, Pakistan and Turkmenistan.
- According to the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), roughly 33,000 Asian houbara bustards and over 22,000 of the North African houbara bustards remain today.
- The main reasons for the decline in the species’ population are poaching, unregulated hunting and the degradation of its natural habitat.