Shoot the bustard: UAE royals under fire during love-hunt

Shoot the bustard: UAE royals under fire during love-hunt
A convoy carrying members of the UAE royal family has come under fire while hunting the rare Houbara bustard during a Safari trip in Pakistan's Balochistan province.
2 min read
22 December, 2016
UAE dignitaties including Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al-Nahyan were in the targeted convoy(AFP)
A convoy carrying a number of members of the UAE royal family, including the Emirate's deputy prime minister, came under fire from gunmen in Pakistan this week while trying to catch an endangered bird considered an aphrodisiac by many in the Middle East.

No injuries were reported in the attack which occurred in Panjgur, a district in the west Balochistan province of Pakistan. 

However, according to Pakistani website News 18 two vehicles in the convoy were damaged in the attack.

According to local media, the attack occurred when 10 armed men riding motorcycles surrounded the convoy and opened fire before fleeing when security personnel arrived on the scene.

The outlawed Balochistan Liberation Front, a separatist political front founded in Damascus in 1964 and based in Balochistan has since claimed responsibility for the attack.

There are between 50,000 and 100,000 Houbara bustards left 
in the wild [AFP]

Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, who also serves as the UAE's interior minister, and his hunting companions are said to have been in Balochistan in search of the endangered Houbara bustard.

Roughly the size of chicken, the Houbara bustard was once common across the Arabian peninsula, but has been hunted to almost extinction.

In the Middle East many believe that the bird’s meat serves as a potent aphrodisiac.

In 2015 Pakistan’s Supreme Court issued a ban forbidding Pakistani nationals to hunt the Houbara bustard. 

But Pakistan continues to issue around 30 special permits per year to wealthy Gulf Arab Sheikhs permitting them to hunt the bustard.

Although each hunting party is permitted to shoot no more than 100 of the endangered species during hunting trips of 10 days, in 2014 a leaked official report claimed that a convoy including Saudi Prince Fadh bin Sultan had killed more than 2,000 bustards during a 21-day hunting Safari sparking outcry from conversation groups.