As has often been said in these quarters, in general us bird bloggers don’t have many quarrels with hunters. Birders and hunters usually share the same conservation goals and sometimes work together to advance them. And responsible hunting practices seldom pose a threat to birders’ quarry.
Note, I said responsible hunting practices. Most hunters follow them, but there are always a few bad apples. And occasionally, those bad apples do something that’s, well, rotten to the core.
Such is the case of the Saudi Arabian prince who, a few months back, took a hunting junket to Pakistan. During the three-week trip, he and his entourage killed 2,100 Houbara Bustards. This is a bird that’s listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN; its Pakistani population of 110,000 may be dropping by almost one-third annually.
These bustards are protected by international agreements and hunting them is banned in India. To add insult to injury, the hunting party appears to have targeted their prey at nature preserves and wildlife sanctuaries, ignoring the bag limits and other restrictions of their permits. After the fact, Houbara Bustard hunting was tentatively banned in one of Pakistan’s provinces, which is nice, I guess, but cold comfort to those concerned about the dwindling numbers of these birds.
(Image above by Tarique Sani/Flickr)
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