Photo Courtesy of takepart.com

Turkey hunting season is a much-anticipated time of the year for the American hunter. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, arabs hunt for a similar looking bird called the Houbara Bustard. Similar only in appearance; the houbara isn’t likely to put you into a tryptophan-induced food coma. Instead, houbara meat is thought to be an aphrodisiac, making the bird much desired by the richest and most powerful men in the middle east.

Photo Courtesy of BBC.COM

A meat that gives you the same effects of viagra? Well, that’s what the arabs believe; medical experts say it’s nothing more than a diuretic. (If this were true and Houbara were as readily available as turkeys, Americans would be enjoying a different “activity” after Thanksgiving dinner instead of watching the Cowboys.)

The houbara bustards migrate annually southwest to the deserts in the Middle East from their breeding grounds in Central Asia. These birds are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a “vulnerable” species at high risk of extinction. Estimates say there are between 50,000 and 100,000 left.

Photo Courtesy of NYTimes.com

Due to the alarming rate of depletion of the Houbara Bustard the Pakistani government has placed a hunting ban on the birds. That said, it issues between 25 and 35 “special permits” to wealthy sheikhs and members of the ruling family annually.

Despite heavy restrictions, or perhaps because of them, the Arab elite spare no expense on conspicuous lavish hunts. According to statements from local farmers and private land owners, they show up as they please and take over with total disregard for the destruction they leave behind. Not to mention their exceeding their per hunter bag limit of 100 to over 2000 birds in one 21 day trip!!

photo courtesy of forpakistan.org

Hunt highlights

Traditionally, the sheikhs used camels as transport, but today they drive in fleets of 60 or 70 customized all-terrain vehicles, careening through the desert at speeds up to 80 miles per hour, flattening the landscape, vegetation and small animals under their wheels (Weaver 1992).

Armed with high-powered guns to shoot any animal that comes into view, the sheikh occupies an elevated seat that swivels 180 degrees to enable him to spot the Houbara Bustards and their tracks in the sand (Weaver 1992).

The ecological damage done by the armies of vehicles that flatten vegetation, scar the landscape, and slaughter every animal they see is so severe that it may result in the local extinctions of many rare and delicate species of the Pakistani desert (Hoyo et al. 1996).

With the blatant disregard for laws, land and conservation it should come as no surprise that the illicit hunting of the Bustard ultimately led to the kidnapping of these princes.

In December of 2015 gunmen kidnapped 27 Qatari hunters, said to include members of the ruling family. While officials insisted the hunters had exclusive permission to hunt the bird, they also acknowledge that the party was hunting outside of secured areas . In Texas we call that an illegal hunt.

After an undisclosed ransom, rumored to be in the in the millions, the hunters were returned safely and unharmed after 16 months. I wonder if these men will venture out again on this ancient hunting tradition — that threatens to lead to the extinction of the houbara bustard. And to think we thought American turkeys had it bad, merely ending up on our dining tables every Thanksgiving.

17 Responses to Kidnappers Release Saudi Princes Hunting Houbara Bustard (a.k.a., Viagra Turkey)

  1. If you never see another haji squat . . .

    Aphrodisiac? Eat a Turkey so that you’re man enough to screw a dude, and . . . stone him to death if he professes to be a homosexual.

    great

    Sorry, I’m not interested in supporting any conservation of these animals except in isolated captivity.

    Oh, and I think the bird should be protected.

  2. If this bird meat has a diuretic affect, there’s no way it can be an aphrodisiac. But, believe what ya want.

  3. What is it with these bronze age apes and the constant questing for an aphrodisiac?
    Oysters, Spanish Fly, rhino horn, shark fin, monkey testicles and now this bird?
    It’s like all the worlds cretins share a common blight of ED paired with a hearty dose of severe retardation.

      • They got no problem humping the goats. A little lip stick and some Barry White, they’re good to go.

        It’s their wives they have trouble with.

        Maybe if they tape a picture of their goat to the back of their wives head?

  4. Anyone think Dick Cheney can be talked in to joining these Richard Craniums on their next hunt?

  5. Can’t say I feel bad for those morons. As a hunter this kinda of blatant disregard for conservative of the sport and species is unacceptable.

    Hunting is enjoyable because of the challenge, shooting fish in a barrel at 80mph on a Humvee is not hunting

  6. Most bizarre TTAG article ever? Right up there with the transgender bathroom and tactical yoga pants articles.

  7. I think if I’d been one of the kidnappers, those Saudi princes might have had accidents where their trigger fingers somehow got broken… off.

  8. Pakistan isn’t in the Middle East. These Arab sheikhs probably also hunt in Africa, and there are probably Malaysian and Indonesian elites hunting these birds in Pakistan.

  9. Never thought I’d have a chance to use this limerick:

    The bustard’s an exquisite fowl
    With minimal reason to growl:
    He escapes what would be
    Illegitimacy
    By grace of a fortunate vowel.

  10. I find it troubling the writer lumps domestic turkeys and wild birds. He seems to see a turkey hunter behind every bush. Probably 99% of turkeys consumed on Thanksgiving are store bought!

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