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Pak province seeks revocation of ban on rare bird hunting

Pakistan's Balochistan provincial government has moved the apex court against a ban on hunting of an endangered species of birds, a day after a Saudi prince arrived in the area to hunt the Houbara Bustards.



Karachi: Pakistan's Balochistan provincial government has moved the apex court against a ban on hunting of an endangered species of birds, a day after a Saudi prince arrived in the area to hunt the Houbara Bustards.

The provincial government moved the Supreme Court yesterday against orders of the Balochistan High Court that banned hunting of the rare birds.

The dull brown birds with black markings on their wings are listed as "vulnerable" and "declining in numbers" in the 'Red List' of endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Although hunting them is banned in Pakistan, the government from time to time issued permits to Arab royals to hunt the bird, which Balochistan High Court cancelled last year after it was reported that foreign hunting parties had killed a significant number of the rare species.

The Forest Department of Balochistan filed petition in the apex court, challenging the Balochistan High Court orders to cancel allotments to Arab dignitaries, as well as a ban on hunting Houbara bustards, The Express Tribune reported.

The move came after Saudi governor for Tabuk Prince Fahad bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud landed in the province on Wednesday before being driven to his camp in the Ek Mach desert.

According to sources in the Forest Department, the Saudi Prince started hunting in the desert yesterday.

"He had started hunting in Gutt Game Century in the Ek Mach area of Chagai," an official said on condition of anonymity.

Most officials in Balochistan refused to give details as to why the prince was allowed to hunt the rare bird despite a ban order from the high court.

Last year, a prince hunted as many as 2,100 Houbara Bustards contrary to the terms of his license which allows hunting 100 such birds during a 10-day trip.

In that season, as many as 29 Arab dignitaries were allowed to hunt in different parts of Balochistan by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

According to conservative estimates, upto a million birds of all species migrate through Pakistan each year flying south from Siberia to pass the winter in Central and South Asia.  

From Zee News

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