Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan: Wildlife officials in Pakistan fined a Qatari prince and seized two of his prized hunting falcons after he was discovered illegally hunting a rare bird species, an official said on Thursday.
The confiscated falcons - which can be worth upwards of $250,000 each - were released into the wild this week, said Khan Malook, a district wildlife officer in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The prince, identified as Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani, paid a fine of 80,000 rupees ($800) before leaving the country, Malook said.
The Qatari was discovered hunting houbara bustards, listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, in the area in mid-January, he said.
Pakistan has come under fire from conservationists for granting permits for hunting bustards to wealthy Gulf Arabs, for whom falconry is a revered cultural tradition.
The sheikh, however, had no permit for hunting, Malook said.
Representatives of the Qatari royal family could not be reached for comment on Thursday.