During a safari in Pakistan, a Saudi Arabian prince allegedly slaughtered 1,977 houbara bustards -- a quickly declining species. The Pakistani government were fully aware of the hunt and to make matters worse, his hunting party killed 123 other birds, bringing the total carnage to 2,100.
A newly-released report titled "Visit of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud regarding hunting of houbara bustard" prepared by Jaffar Baloch, divisional forest officer of the Balochistan forest and wildlife department in Pakistan, chronicled the birds the prince shot during his 21-day safari trip, according to Pakistan's Dawn News.
Classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation (IUCN) Red List, the species is protected from hunting in Pakistan. But the federal government issues special permits to Arab royalty, which means that the prince was hunting these protected birds with the full compliance of the government. But the hunting permit allows for hunters to kill just 100 bustards the prince wantonly violated the permit, killing thousands more than allowed.
This is not a new problem -- in February, Tasneem Aslam, from Pakistan's ministry of foreign affairs, told the Guardian:
Arab dignitaries have been coming for hunting for decades and decades – it's a longstanding tradition. Ten years ago there wasn't so much public awareness about the issue but now we see more voices raising their concern.
As The Dodo reported in February, a ban on hunting the species was announced following outrage from animal advocates, who say the hunt is not only inhumane but also unsustainable and favors foreign dignitaries.
"Is there any more ridiculous reason to kill an animal?" said Naeem Sadiq, a Karachi-based activist, at the time. "If it's illegal for Pakistanis to kill these birds why should the Arab sheikhs be allowed to do it?"
According to the IUCN, there are 110,000 houbara bustards left, but they are and declining at a rate of 20 percent to 29 percent each year because of poaching and illegal hunting.