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.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Pakistan enforces hunting ban on Houbara bustard

Pakistan's Supreme Court has ordered a total ban on the hunting of the Houbara bustard, an endangered migratory bird prized by hunters from the Gulf states.

The court has asked the government to enforce international conventions on conservation which Pakistan has signed.

The Houbara bustard, about the size of a chicken, once flourished on the Arabian peninsula but has been hunted almost to extinction.

Many in the Middle East believe the bird's meat is an aphrodisiac.

The International Union of the Conservation of Nature (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.

The BBC's Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that although hunting the birds has been banned in Pakistan, the government has routinely made exceptions for Middle Eastern dignitaries on grounds of diplomatic expediency and because they bring "investment in the social sector" like hospitals and schools.

In 2014, a Saudi royal hunting party killed more than 2,000 Houbara bustards in a 21-day safari in Chagai, Balochistan, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported.

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