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Finance division releases Rs250 million to protect Houbara bustards

ISLAMABAD: The Finance Division on Thursday established a Rs250 million endowment fund for the conservation of Houbara bustard and other migratory birds.

In October, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the creation of the fund for migratory birds, including the MacQueen’s bustard also known as the Asian houbara in Pakistan.

The fund has been designed to provide a lasting solution for conservation and habitat protection of the birds in Pakistan, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Green Pakistan Programme (GPP) Rizwan Mehboob had said following approval of the fund.

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Mehboob also said the fund would develop conservation, propagation and artificial breeding initiatives for bustards and other migratory birds, manage and restore migratory bird habitats, such as protected areas and conservancies, protect endangered species of migratory birds, their habitats and ecosystems, and support wildlife management and security operations by provincial governments.

Earlier this month, authorities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa imposed a province-wide ban on the hunting of the Houbara bustard over reports that the federal government had allowed Qatari Royal Prince Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali al Thani to hunt the bird during the hunting season 2016-2017.

K-P slaps ban on Houbara bustard hunting

The indiscriminate hunting of houbara bustard has led to an alarming decline in their population. The species was declared vulnerable after its global population dwindled by more than 60 per cent.

Many birds fly south to India to escape the harsh Russian winter, but on their way, they make stopovers at different lakes and water reservoirs in Pakistan, including Tanda Dam in Kohat, and Haleji, Keenjhar and Lungsee lakes in Sindh.

A WWF official who is engaged in conservation work in Sindh said the number of migratory birds making stopovers at Keenjhar Lake had declined from 205,000 to 13,706 over the last two decades.

courtesy : Express Tribune

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