A Saudi prince has hunted down over 2,100 internationally protected houbara bustards in 21-day hunting safari in Chagai, Balochistan. The royal also indulged in illegal hunting in protected areas, says a report.
The houbara bustard is regarded as the provincial bird of Balochistan.
The report titled ‘Visit of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud regarding hunting of houbara bustard’ states the prince hunted for 21 days from January 11 to 31 this year, and hunted 1,977 birds, while other members of his party hunted an additional 123 birds, bringing the total bustard toll to 2,100, sources said.
They said that hunting of the internationally protected bird was banned in Pakistan also, but the federal government issued special permits to Gulf states’ royals.
According to the permits, only specific person not by anyone else is allowed to hunt up to 100 houbara bustards in 10 days in the area allocated, excluding reserved and protected areas.
The report dated February 4 (No: 216-219 HB/CHI) says that during the 21-day safari the prince hunted the birds for 15 days in the reserved and protected areas, poached birds in other areas for six days and took rest for two days.
Giving a breakup of date-wise as well as area-wise details of the prince’s expedition, the report says that he hunted 112 houbara bustards in the Gut game sanctuary (Arbe pat) which is a reserved and protected area on January 11.
The next two days on January 12 and 13, he hunted 116 and 93 birds in the Gut game sanctuary (Sai Rek) which is also a reserved and protected area.
Then for the next two days, the Saudi Prince Fahd who is also governor of Tabuk, visited Sato Gut and hunted 82 and 80 houbaras on January 14 and 15, respectively.
On Jan 16, he visited Gut-i-Barooth and hunted 79 houbaras. Both these areas are not protected areas, says the report.
Then the Saudi royal camped in the Koh-i-Sultan state forest, which is a reserved and protected area, and hunted 93, 82, 94, 97, 96 and 120 houbara bustards on the following six days respectively.
On January 23 and 24, he continued his hunting spree in the Gut game sanctuary (Dam), which is a reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 116 and 197 houbara bustards, respectively.
The prince carried out hunting of the protected bird in Thalo Station and hunted 89 houbara bustards on January 25 and spent the next two days hunting the birds in Pul Choto, killing 34 and 89 birds on Jan 26 and 27, respectively.
Both of these areas are neither reserved nor protected, says the report.
The remaining four days, Prince Fahd spent in the Gut game sanctuary, a reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 92, 94, 119 and 97 birds on Jan 28, 29, 30, and 31, respectively.
The royal guest took rest on February 1 and 2 at the Bar Tagzai base camp after bringing the grand total of his trophies to 1,977.
Also with the additional 123 birds hunted by local representatives and other labourers, the total number of houbara bustards hunted by the team stands at 2100, the reports added.
The report was prepared by Jaffar Baloch, divisional forest officer of the Balochistan forest and wildlife department, Chagai at Dalbandin of Pakistan.
Copyright: Dawn/Asia News Network