Target: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan
Goal: Stop issuing special permits to wealthy hunters allowing them to poach endangered houbara bustard birds
The houbara bustard is a rare bird found in northern Africa and the Middle East. Each Spring the bustards migrate through Pakistan where for many decades Arab dignitaries and royalty have traveled to hunt them. The birds’ meat is highly sought after as an aphrodisiac. Although bustards are internationally protected Pakistani officials have been known to grant “special” permits to wealthy hunters. Conservationists say the bustards’ population is declining by as much as 29% every year largely because of poaching.
In January, 2014 Prince Fahd bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia went on safari in Pakistan. He and his hunting party were given permits to kill as many as 100 bustards in designated areas. But apparently that wasn’t enough for the Prince. A forest officer in Pakistan claims the Prince’s hunting party poached more than 2,100 bustards and traveled to protected areas including wildlife reserves to do so.
Although this represents an especially terrible violation of the law, permitting certain wealthy hunters to poach bustards has greatly contributed to the species’ decline. The birds face extinction if action is not taken to protect them. Call on the government of Pakistan to stop issuing hunting permits for endangered houbara bustards.
Dear Prime Minister Sharif,
Each year Arab dignitaries and royalty travel to regions of Pakistan to hunt rare houbara bustards. Poaching the birds for their prized meat has nearly driven them to extinction. Pakistani law forbids the hunting of bustards, but permits are occasionally issued to wealthy individuals. Such was the case with Prince Fahd bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia.
The Prince and his party were granted permits to hunt as many as 100 bustards in specially designated areas. But instead the Prince allegedly poached nearly 2,000 of the protected birds himself and hunted nearly two weeks on protected land. While the Prince broke the law and acted with contempt for the natural world it is likely his actions will go unpunished.
Wildlife experts say the houbara bustard’s population is shrinking by some 20-29% each and every year largely because of poaching. Issuing permits to dignitaries like the Prince makes a mockery of wildlife conservation laws and all but ensures the extinction of these endangered birds. I must insist that Pakistan end its practice of issuing permits to hunt the houbara bustard.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Frank Vassen via Flickr