Yes, I also wondered.
I have an email update each day from the South Asia Daily, a News Brief from the South Asia Channel/Foreign Policy magazine. The headline Pakistan Bans Houbara Bastard Hunting this morning really made me curious. It led to:
On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court upheld a provincial ban on hunting of the Houbara Bastard bird and ordered the cancellation of all hunting permits for it (ET, Dawn). The case derived from the federal government’s issuance of such permits over provincial objections. The panel ruled: “After the passing of the 18th Constitutional amendment, the rights to issue any such licenses rests with the provincial governments.” Justice Qazi Faiz Essa commented: “The federal government has not only violated the federal and the provincial laws but has also breached the international agreements by issuing such licenses.” The Houbara Bastard is listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to its rapid population decline in recent years. However, the bird remains a popular prey of hunters from Arab countries.
It is actually the houbara bustard or North African houbara (Chlamydotis undulata), but I like the spelling in the report above.
See also from February 2015:Saudi Royal on Houbara bustard hunting spree in Balochistan.
QUETTA: A Saudi prince is on a hunting spree for rare birds in Balochistan despite a court-imposed ban and the government’s insistence that the foreign delegation is only on a diplomatic mission, senior officials said Monday.
The annual hunt has sparked controversy in recent years because of the Houbara bustard’s dwindling numbers, with the issue also shining a spotlight on traditionally close ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature includes the bird on its ‘red list’ of threatened species, estimating there are fewer than 97,000 left globally…
The government for its part has denied that the Saudi party is engaged in hunting, saying that they had come to oversee development activities.
“They have other kind of activities like inspecting Arab-funded development schemes and meeting tribal elders of the area as part of good will”, minister for forest and wildlife Obaidullah Babat, told reporters last week.
The issue has stirred controversy on social media and among youth activists in the restive province, where a separatist insurgency has been simmering since 2004 and many are critical of the government’s policies, including its ties to ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia.
Up to 40 youth activists from Chaghi district protested in front of Quetta Press Club against the hunting of Houbara Bastard on Friday.
They chanted slogans against the provincial government and demanded the expulsion of the Arab hunting parties from the province.
The stories we never hear about, eh!
Mind you, I couldn’t help but think of a bit of bastard hunting that we could do with here in Australia. A wicked thought…