Nag Valley identified for rare Houbara breeding

KARACHI: Wildlife conservationists have identified Nag Valley, Balochistan as the accurate place for breeding of threatened specie – the Houbara bustard. “It was the natural habitat for Houbara long ago and we are making efforts to bring the birds back in our wild,” said Brigadier Mukhtar Ahmed, president of Falcon Foundation International Pakistan and Houbara Foundation International Pakistan.

He was addressing the Conservation Awards Ceremony at the Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD). The event was arranged to appreciate the SWD officials, media people and wildlife conservationists, who are playing laudable role for the great cause.

Largely attended ceremony was chaired by Sindh Wildlife Minister, Dr Daya Ram Essrani, while Secretary Forest and Wildlife, Mushtaq Ahmed Memon, SWD Conservator, Hussain Bakhsh Bhagat and others were also present on the occasion. Now there is a small number of Houbara in the valley and hopefully the population will increase gradually. At present these birds migrate to Pakistani waters in winter and greedy poachers hunt them for commercial purposes.

Mukhtar Ahmed said in 1989 influential persons from Saudi Arabia trapped 300 Houbara from Pakistan and took its eggs for breeding the specie in their country. They did not consider the loss caused by their cruel act and now the Pakistani nature is under threat.

Furthermore, he expressed concern over cleaning tree cover, poaching illegal birds and animals and destroying our environment. He said at present hardly small tree cover can be witnessed in Northern Areas and Sindh, which should be saved. These bushes and vegetation are nesting places for these birds and provide shelter to animals, reptiles and insects, he added.

Mukhtar said his organisations receive Falcon and Houbara from wildlife departments of the provinces and release the same in natural environment through scientific process. He also advised the SWD officials and other conservationists to implement scientific methodology during birds release to avoid impacts of any bird disease. He said before releasing the birds we keep them in wildlife hospitals for proper treatment.

Appreciating the SWD officials, Mukhtar said on one occasion Field Martial President, Mohammed Ayoub Khan came to Sindh for hunting. When he reached in the wild, a brave SWD game watcher asked the President of Pakistan to show if he has any official permit. The official did not recognise the President and rumours spread that not only will he lose his job but may face the wrath of the president. But instead of this President Ayoub Khan appreciated his exemplary act and asked official photographer to have a snapshot with the brave official.

Later, Essrani gave away certificates with cash awards to the officials, who confiscated 49 Houbara and 21 Falcons from illegal poachers and handed over the same to the Houbara and Falcon foundations. The minister said they have already presented a bill against illegal poaching in the Sindh Assembly and they are proud of their officials, who are performing according to the law.

Source: The News, 11th January, 2009

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