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Macqueen's Bustard (Asian Houbara) hunting in Pakistan (1 Viewer)

Biancone

to err is human
Interesting piece! Decent effort to navigate the cultural and political complexities. I made two trips to Baluchistan (for sea turtle survey) in the early/mid 1980s and saw couple of Arab hunting camps: definitely untouchable.
Brian
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Traditional Arabian falconry - as practiced in Arabia, with falcons flown from the backs of camels, that were released back to the wild at the end of the season, was once an activity that had limited impact on predator and prey. But what it has morphed into bears very little resemblance to what is so often invoked in connection with it - its tradition. Luxury SUVs, international travel via private jets to distant regions such as Turkmenistan, and stables full of hybrid gyrfalcons, kept in air-conditioned quarters over the summer season, are a far cry from how the pastime was practised even by the fathers of the current rulers of the KSA and the Gulf States - much less releasing bagged quarry (mentioned in the link in the original post) which would be scorned by any true practitioner of the art.

The pursuit of wild houbara and other quarry with trained falcons does indeed have deep roots in Arabian culture and heritage, and done in the traditional manner it was sustainable. With better management of the environment, quarry species, and the falcons, it could become much more so. But whether its modern day practitioners have the self-awareness to realize that what their pastime has become has far departed the traditions of the past - let alone the desire to reform some of its more egregious practices - is doubtful to say the least.
 

MJB

Well-known member
Traditional Arabian falconry - as practiced in Arabia, with falcons flown from the backs of camels, that were released back to the wild at the end of the season, was once an activity that had limited impact on predator and prey. But what it has morphed into bears very little resemblance to what is so often invoked in connection with it - its tradition. Luxury SUVs, international travel via private jets to distant regions such as Turkmenistan, and stables full of hybrid gyrfalcons, kept in air-conditioned quarters over the summer season, are a far cry from how the pastime was practised even by the fathers of the current rulers of the KSA and the Gulf States - much less releasing bagged quarry (mentioned in the link in the original post) which would be scorned by any true practitioner of the art.

The pursuit of wild houbara and other quarry with trained falcons does indeed have deep roots in Arabian culture and heritage, and done in the traditional manner it was sustainable. With better management of the environment, quarry species, and the falcons, it could become much more so. But whether its modern day practitioners have the self-awareness to realize that what their pastime has become has far departed the traditions of the past - let alone the desire to reform some of its more egregious practices - is doubtful to say the least.
You explain very well why the defence "It's tradition!" offered when such a practice is questioned is not a defence at all. The test to apply is "Is this a good tradition to maintain, or a bad tradition?" Cultural practices maintained in original fashion may well be good traditions, even though that may not sit well with other cultures, but cultural practices maintained that create deleterious effects not present in their original fashion are most certainly bad traditions. It's how those effects are remedied is the problem.
MJB
 

Himalaya

Well-known member
Very little wildlife survives in those areas and one unreported casualty is the numbers of Stone Curlews - difficult to see at best of times but barely and are recorded. Gazelles have vanished from the areas they hunt in too. What will they do if the species becomes extinct?
 

MJB

Well-known member
Very little wildlife survives in those areas and one unreported casualty is the numbers of Stone Curlews - difficult to see at best of times but barely and are recorded. Gazelles have vanished from the areas they hunt in too. What will they do if the species becomes extinct?
Import other species as target species? There are many precedents. Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was introduced to Australia so that the colonial gentry could have a decent hunt. In the days of the post WW2 USSR, Raccoon Dog Nyctereutes procyonoides was introduced by Soviet officers appointed to oversee eastern European countries of the Warsaw Pact so that they could alleviate their boredom by shooting them. Where there's money or controlling influence...
MJB
 

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