Rangers seize four houbara bustards in Karachi | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Rangers seize four houbara bustards in Karachi

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: Four houbara bustards were seized by Rangers personnel during checking of an intercity bus in the Mochko area on Monday.

The birds were later handed over to the wildlife department.

“The birds were found abandoned in the bus coming from Kharan, Balochistan. A case has been registered but no arrest has been made,” said wildlife department game officer Rasheed Ahmed Khan.

The wildlife department staff could not interrogate the bus driver and the conductor as they had been let off by the Rangers, he said when asked about details of the seizure.

“The birds are kept in the wildlife department office and are being fed mustard leaves. They will be released in the Khirthar National Park tomorrow,” he said.

According to Mr Khan, it is the first seizure of houbara bustards this year which has seen confiscation of over 60 falcons during the same period in different parts of the province.

“We are working in close coordination with the Sachal wing (of the Rangers) that earlier helped us recover six falcons during snap checking at the same spot,” Mr Khan said.

Houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata) is listed as a vulnerable species in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List and is protected under the provincial wildlife laws.

According to sources, large numbers of houbara bustards are illegally hunted and trapped in Pakistan, and shipped to Arab countries for training falcons to hunt. Houbaras are also hunted and killed for their meat.

Besides, successive governments granted special permits to Arab dignitaries to hunt the bird for decades.

This year, the Supreme Court imposed a ban on houbara bustard hunting and directed the provincial governments not to give more licences or permits to hunt the bird.

They were also directed to “amend their respective wildlife laws to make them compliant with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) and Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and not to permit the hunting of any species that is either threatened with extinction or categorised as vulnerable”.

Pakistan is signatory to both conventions and, thus, has an international obligation to comply with them.

The court ban came after the killing of 2,100 houbara bustards in Balochistan by a high-ranking Saudi official last year.