As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Pakistan urged to ban Arab sheikhs from hunting endangered birds

Special licences given to high-rolling dignitaries to kill houbara bustard, which is considered to be at risk of extinction

Jon Boone in Karachi

theguardian.com, Tuesday 4 February 2014 07.00 GMT

Pakistan is witnessing a mounting backlash against Arab sheikhs who spend part of their winters hunting a rare bird that conservationists warn is at risk of extinction.

Activists in the country say they are determined to end the annual killing of houbara bustards, an elusive bird that migrates each winter from central Asia to Pakistan's warmer climes.

Although the birds are officially protected, VIP visitors from the Gulf enjoy their traditional hunts with falcons and believe the houbara's meat has aphrodisiac properties.

"Is there any more ridiculous reason to kill an animal?" said Naeem Sadiq, a Karachi-based activist who petitioned the Lahore high court to ban the practice. "If it's illegal for Pakistanis to kill these birds why should the Arab sheikhs be allowed to do it?"

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