Target: Mian Saqib Nisar, Senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan
Goal: Reinstate the hunting ban on the houbara bustard, an endangered desert bird.
The Pakistan Supreme Court recently lifted a ban on the hunting of the houbara bustard, a rare desert bird that faces a high risk of extinction on the Arabian Peninsula. The houbara is prized by hunters in the Middle East because of the rumored aphrodisiac qualities of its meat, a myth that has caused the houbara population to dramatically decrease to fewer than 100,000 globally. Last year, the Supreme Court ordered a total ban on the hunting of these rare birds in Pakistan, encouraging conservationists that the bustard would finally be protected. Now all of this progress has been erased by a new court ruling that lifted the ban in order to ensure political ties.
The Supreme Court voted to remove the ban because the government feared that it would affect Pakistan’s relations with Middle Eastern countries. Before the ban, foreign dignitaries would be issued permits allowing them to hunt the bird for up to ten days and kill up to 100 bustard. Without these wealthy hunters bringing their business from the Gulf States, less investment would be brought to Pakistan from these Middle Eastern countries that also employ the majority of Pakistan’s overseas manpower. However, while the hunting permits were supposed to monitor how many houbara bustard were killed, hunters would often vastly exceed the quota of 100 birds. In 2014, for example, one Saudi prince killed 2,100 bustards during a three week hunting trip. Removing the ban for political reasons in favor of a system that has been proven not to work is far from a solution.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature includes the houbara bustard on its red list of threatened species, and the bird will face extinction without the proper protection. By signing the petition below you will help urge the Pakistan Supreme Court to reinstate the hunting ban and stop killing off this endangered bird.
Dear Justice Nisar,
The recently lifted hunting ban on the endangered houbara bustard must be reinstated. The International Union for Conservation of Nature includes the houbara bustard on its red list of threatened species and today the global population is fewer than 100,000. The hunting ban was a necessary act of protection for these threatened birds, and without it they will face extinction. The issuing of hunting permits that restrict the hunter to killing 100 bustard over a ten-day period has been shown to lack enforcement, as that quota has often been exceeded by hunters.
Only by reinstating the hunting ban can we ensure that these threatened birds will survive. I am urging you to help protect the houbara bustard in Pakistan. Please take action to reinstate the hunting ban and save this quickly declining species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jimfbleak