From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Houbara Bustard
Mains level : Various threats to wildlife population
Pakistan has issued special permits to the Emir of Qatar and nine other members of the royal family to hunt the houbara bustard, an internationally protected bird species.
IUCN Conservation status: Vulnerable
- Bustards are large, terrestrial birds that belong to several species, including some of the largest flying birds.
- The houbara bustard, which lives in arid climates, comes in two distinct species as recognised by the IUCN, one residing in North Africa (Chlamydotis undulata) and the other in Asia (Chlamydotis macqueenii).
- The population of the Asian houbara bustards extends from northeast Asia, across central Asia, the Middle East, and the Arabian Peninsula to reach the Sinai desert.
- Roughly 33,000 Asian houbara bustards and over 22,000 of the North African houbara bustards remain today.
- After breeding in the spring, the Asian bustards migrate south to spend the winter in Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula and nearby Southwest Asia.
- The main reasons for the houbara’s decline are poaching, unregulated hunting, along with degradation of its natural habitat.
- The Pakistanis are not allowed to hunt the bird, the government invites Arab royals to hunt it every year.
- These people are granted permission to hunt for a sum of upto $100,000.