Saudi royal in Pakistan to hunt endangered Houbara bustard

The bird, about the size of a chicken, is prized for its meat that serves as an aphrodisiac.

Updated - November 17, 2021 02:12 am IST

Published - February 01, 2016 06:29 pm IST - ISLAMABAD:

A Houbara bustard.

A Houbara bustard.

A prince of Saudi Arabia’s royal family has arrived in Pakistan’s Balochistan province for hunting the Houbara bustard, days after the country’s Supreme Court lifted a ban on hunting of the endangered bird.

Prince Fahad bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who is also the governor of Tabuk province in Saudi Arabia, arrived in his special flight at the Dalbandin airport, the Express Tribune reported on Monday.

Annual affair

The Prince visits Dalbandin and other areas of the Chaghi district every year for hunting of the endangered species in the months of December and January, the daily reported.

The visit by the Prince is apparently the first after the Supreme Court recently lifted the ban on hunting of Houbara bustard on January 22.

Its meat is an aphrodisiac

Houbara bustard is an endangered migratory bird, whose meat is prized by elite Arab sheikhs for its aphrodisiac value. The ban on the Houbara bustard, about the size of a chicken, was imposed by former Chief Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja on August 20 last year, who also ordered the cancellation of all existing permits issued by government to Arab rulers.

The federal and provincial governments in October had challenged the ban, pleading that sustainable hunting should be allowed. A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali lifted the ban in a verdict on the review petitions.

Houbara bustard is listed in the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals, also known as the Bonn Convention, and is declared as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Globally, 50,000 to 1 lakh exist

The IUCN estimates the global population of Houbara bustards at between 50,000 and 100,000 and includes it on its red list of threatened species.

Each year, several thousand Houbara bustards traverse a 2,000-km migratory route from Central Asia to the southern deserts of Pakistan and Iran, and return with the onset of summer.

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