Hunting for beauties.
Whirl, jack, or the bustard-beauty is a bird of the family of the bustard of the squad crane. It got its name for the characteristic manner of running, rushing from side to side. In our country lives from the Caspian Sea to Mongolia, but is currently strictly protected.
I was accidentally lucky enough to see flying bustards in the Kuban steppes.
It is also located in the Red Book of Kazakhstan, but the tenge is much weaker than the dollar, and since 1994, the Government of Kazakhstan has allowed the sheikhs from the UAE and Qatar to hunt bustards with their own falcons.
For centuries, falconry has been considered the favorite fun of Middle Eastern rulers. Bird trappers are closely associated with the Bedouin culture: nomadic civilizations relied on the help of falcons in their search for food in the Syrian and Arabian deserts. Now in the Middle East, falconry is, first of all, a spectacular sport and an opportunity to join the culture of ancestors. Hunting with birds of prey is also used as a tool for raising important virtues in Islam – patience and mutual trust.
In the seventies of the last century, falcon hunting for bustards-beauties became extremely popular among Arab sheikhs. Firstly, these bustards are really beautiful, real “royal birds”, in addition, their meat is considered an aphrodisiac. Let me remind you that an aphrodisiac is something that can be taken in the form of a drink or food, which helps to increase sexual instinct, causing emotional and physiological arousal. The owner of the harem this fact is very important.
Whether this is really so is unknown, but the sheikhs almost destroyed the bustard beauties in the Arabian Peninsula. There, they are now actively working to restore their numbers, and high-ranking hunters go to other countries for red-book mining. What is impossible for money, it is possible for very big money.
At first, they visited Iran and Afghanistan, but after the victory of the Islamic revolution and the beginning of the Afghan war, they switched to Pakistan, where the bustard-beauty flies from Central Asia for the winter. To this day, numerous delegations regularly go there, including the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar, the princes of Saudi Arabia, and the president of the UAE. For a long time, the Pakistani authorities overlooked the whims of the sheikhs, because they were buying permits to hunt. In addition, trying to prevent the discontent of the local population, the sheikhs allocated money for the construction of roads, schools and mosques, made expensive gifts to local elders. Residents of the surrounding villages joked that they could build a new house and annually issue their daughters after the arrival of regular high-ranking guests.
Authorities issued to falconers official permits for the bustard – no more than 100 individuals per person. In 2014, for example, 33 such permits were issued. At the same time, a scandal broke out for the first time: the media got information that Saudi Prince Fahd bin Sultan during a three-week hunt in Balochistan, a province in the west of the country, killed 2,100 bustards, exceeding the quota for two thousand individuals.
In the wake of public indignation, the Supreme Court of Pakistan imposed a complete ban on the production of rare birds, which, however, lasted only a year. It was canceled in order not to spoil relations with the countries of the Persian Gulf. And even this year, as reported, the Saudi prince did not change his habits and flew to Pakistan with a large retinue, jeeps and falcons in the winter. Although local authorities categorically denied the fact of illegal mining of bustards.
In 2017, an unpleasant incident during the hunt all in the same Balochistan occurred with a relative of the Emir of Qatar. Angry peasants attacked his guards for forbidding them personally to meet with a VIP guest and ask him for money for a mosque. As a result, three people were injured.
Against this background, Kazakhstan, where Arab sheikhs are also officially allowed to catch a beauty bustard, looks like an oasis of security.
For the first time, the former Soviet republic granted the right to a foreign citizen to hunt for a bird listed in the Red Book on its territory in 1994. This citizen was Prince Mohamed Bin Bader Bin Mohamed Bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud from Saudi Arabia. For his contribution to the protection of wild animals in Kazakhstan, he was allowed to annually hunt a beauty bustard “within the established limits.” Since the beginning of the 2000s, members of the ruling Abu Dhabi family — Sheikh Surur bin Muhammad al Nahyan, Sheikh Muhammad ibn Zayed al Nahyan, and the President of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, began to arrive in the republic with the same goal. On several planes, they brought all the necessary equipment, falcons, family members and attendants to Kazakhstan.