Pakistan’s government has reportedly issued a special permit to Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, to “export” 150 falcons of rare species to the UAE, English newspaper, Daily Dawn reported.
The permission, according to the newspaper, was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and delivered to the UAE’s embassy in the federal capital, Islamabad.
The rare species — peregrine and Saker — are used by Arab hunters to trap houbara bustards. As hunters need to replace aging falcons with younger ones, the demand for these birds almost always remains stable.
Falcons are protected under international nature conservation treaties — including the Switzerland-based Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) — and their trans-boundary travel is restricted. Pakistan is a signatory to the treaty.
Trapping and trade in falcons are banned under the wildlife protection laws of the country. There are no formal shops and markets anywhere for lawful sale and purchase of falcons, the newspaper report added.
In the face of a ban on trapping and trade of falcons legally, a “falcon exporter” has to purchase illegally trapped falcons from illegal wildlife traders.
According to Daily Dawn, the permit issued in favour of the UAE vice president on Sept 15 this year reads: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan presents its compliments to the Embassy of UAE in Islamabad and with reference to its … regarding export of falcons has the honour to inform that the esteemed embassy may export one hundred and fifty (150) falcons from Pakistan to the United Arab Emirate (UAE) for personal use of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, vice president of UAE and ruler of Dubai, from Karachi/Bahawalpur/Rahim Yar Khan/Islamabad/Quetta.
“In this regard, the concerned authorities have been requested to accord facilitation for the export of one hundred and fifty (150) falcons from Pakistan to UAE.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the esteemed mission of the assurances of its highest consideration.”
The permit was issued under the signature of the foreign ministry’s deputy chief of protocol.
Permits for the export of 150 falcons were issued to UAE dignitories in the years- 2018 and 2019 too.