Houbara Bustard threat in South Africa

By BirdLife.SA, Thu, 29/04/2010 - 08:45
BirdLife South Africa (BirdLife Partner) joined forces with other organizations to react with dismay to the receipt of information suggesting that there is interest in the hunting of Houbara Bustard by means of falcons in South Africa. According to information received, there is intention by falconers to establish a Houbara Bustard breeding facility in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa and to release and hunt these bustards with large exotic falcons. Their media release was as follows: We wish to state, in the strongest terms, that we are vehemently opposed to this suggestion. We understand that there may also be an intention to hunt indigenous bustards and korhaans with exotic falcons, which we also strongly oppose. The basis of our opposition to any such proposals would be that:
  • The release of exotic species into the natural environment to be hunted is contrary to existing biodiversity legislation and could be detrimental to the conservation of indigenous birds.
  • Falconry is the art of hunting wild quarry with a trained hawk. The practice of “put and take” hunting where quarry species are released into the natural environment and then hunted does not fit this definition and would, in our opinion, be unethical.
  • We are of the opinion that the captive breeding of Houbara Bustards in South Africa on a scale that permits their hunting by falcons is impractical and, probably, not feasible. We have real concern that this activity may be used as a front to enable the hunting of indigenous bustard species.
  • Ten species of bustards occur in South Africa, of which six are endemic (or nearendemic) to southern Africa (in other words, found nowhere else in the world) and of which six are listed in The Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. The Denham’s Bustard and Blue Korhaan are also listed as ‘Near-threatened’ internationally.
  • Whilst we strongly support the concept of sustainable utilization, including the sustainable hunting of natural resources, and view this as a significant conservation tool, we believe that hunting of indigenous bustards and korhaans is not sustainable, in line with their current legal status within South Africa. Hunting would be an additional threat for these species, all of which breed slowly and are threatened by many other human-induced factor.
  • The South African Falconry Association (SAFA) has very strict regulations regarding the use of exotic raptors for falconry. With the application of these regulations, the loss of a free-flying exotic raptor into the environment becomes a very rare event. In this way the use of exotic raptors for falconry is not a contravention of existing biodiversity legislation and does not threaten the natural biodiversity of South Africa. In practical terms, only exotic raptors can be used to hunt Houbara Bustards. We would oppose, in the strongest terms, the possession of exotic raptors, which may be used for falconry, by any persons not affiliated to SAFA and not subject to these SAFA regulations.
  • We take pride in the history of co-operation by hunters, including falconers, with South Africa’s conservation authorities with particular regard to sustainable utilization issues in general and falconry in particular and we would oppose any practices which would not conform with acceptable sustainable utilization standards of practice and ethics.
We question why the Northern Cape Government is considering this application, which may pre-empt the national translocation policy under discussion by the national Department of Environmental Affairs, provincial conservation authorities and the hunting industry, given that such a policy may apply very strict controls on the movement of non-indigenous animals including the Houbara Bustard and exotic falcons. We question the failure of the Northern Cape Provincial Government to inform and consult with established stakeholder organisations about this application. We call on the Northern Cape Government and any other provincial administration to reject any application for permits to captive-breed Houbara Bustards or hunt any bustards and korhaans by exotic falcons.

Africa

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Today a convoy of 30 off-road vehicles is directed to the desert Hezoua, escorted by our security forces as the carnage begins SOS we need HELP!!! During the 23-year regime of Ben Ali, the emirs of the Arabian Peninsula, having destroyed several animal species that once lived in their desert, found in southern Tunisia Eldorado to hunt them with impunity, despite a national law strict The few rare and endangered, such as the Dorcas gazelle, white gazelle (Rim), the mountain gazelle and houbara bustard also graceful (known as the H'bara in our skies, Chlamydotis undulata undulata in scientific name). The latest news for the scouts emirs Qatari landed in Tozeur to ensure the logistics for a hunting trip and parts of Arab falconry in the "El Chott Gharsa" last stronghold of bustards and gazelles. Alarmed by this terrible news, associations with environmental and local NGOs have mobilized to stop this massacre. The press wanted to dip his pen in that case to save the houbara bustard recent Tunisian hands of the emirs poachers. Blessed by a flora and fauna very atypical, the ecosystem of the Tunisian Sahara has always crystallized curiosity adventurers, hikers and simple science. At the same time, always on the lookout for idyllic settings, the major Hollywood studios have found in the giant dunes of the Tunisian Sahara and its picturesque landscape, the perfect place to make films of anthology in the image of the Star Wars by George Lucas, The English Patient and the latest blockbuster Black Gold of the Tunisian producer Tarek Ben Ammar with the star Antonio Banderas. But who says landscape, also known as a live ecosystem where flora and fauna. O r, despite a relatively small area compared to the Libyan and Algerian desert, the Tunisian Sahara is different from its neighbors by a unique biodiversity of its kind with a rich and varied fauna. Alas, that's that for over two decades, wildlife in the Tunisian desert lives a nightmare. Several environmentalists Tunisian "rich Gulf princes engage, in fact, a massacre that affects several rare species of the country. Their main targets are the houbara bustard and gazelle. Both species are endangered, in principle, protected by national and international laws. ". Friends of the birds are calling At last count, according to a letter from Mr. Hichem Azafzaf, president of the Association "Les Amis des Oiseaux" (AAO), the Minister of Agriculture and Environment, which the press was able to obtain a copy , scouts of emirs Qatari landed in Tozeur to ensure the logistics for a hunting trip and parts of falconry for the past Tunisian bustards and gazelles which the summary here: "Mr. Minister. I have just been informed that the Gulf Emirs are preparing for a hunt in the houbara bustard and gazelle in Southern Tunisia, specifically in the area of Tozeur. Let me remind you that the species concerned are strictly protected under Tunisian law (Decree on annual hunting) and shall in no case be delivered to poaching allowed as was the case under the old regime. For this I draw your attention to these recent activities that you should do what is necessary to ensure that no authorization is provided and that your services provide the application of our laws. Mr. Minister, thank you in advance for all you do to ensure compliance with Tunisian law on hunting and protect our natural heritage for present and future generations. Always at the service of nature and the need to save the birds and their habitats, we remain faithful and supportive for Tunisia. " For his part, Mr. Abdelmajid Dabbar, an activist-environmentalist and ornithologist, told us: "Yes, the scouts of emirs of Qatar arrived in Tozeur for site preparation and logistics in" Chott El Gharsa " last stronghold of bustards and gazelles. Thus, a demonstration was organized by friends of nature and hunters outside the headquarters of Tozeur governorate of Tozeur to stop this attack on our fragile heritage. That environmental activists, NGOs, hunters and all supporters are united to defend and denounce infringements and abuse of protected species. " Hunted for its aphrodisiac

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