Pheasant shooting contest arranged after seven years

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CHAKWAL: After a gap of seven years, the Punjab Wildlife and Parks Department arranged a three-day pheasant shooting competition which started at Kallar Kahar on Friday.

The event is meant to promote legal hunting and discourage poaching. Scores of hunters from different parts of the country took part in the competition.

Pheasant is a beautiful bird decked with bright colour and adornments such as its wattle and the long tail. In Pakistan, pheasants are kept at breeding farms. When their population gets surplus, the wildlife department arranges a shooting competition in which licence-holding hunters can take part. This year, the permit fee has been fixed at Rs10,000.

On Friday, birds brought from Lahore were freed from a peak near Kallar Kahar while the hunters took positions beneath. Scores of birds were hunted down by the hunters while others who managed to escape were caught by local people.

“I took part in this interesting completion for the first time. It is a marvellous experience,” Nawabzada Rizwan Khan from Dera Ismail Khan told Dawn. He said such shooting competitions were held in Europe and United States. “It is really heartening that the Punjab government has also started arranging such events.”

Mr Khan hunted down four pheasants. “The meat of pheasant is as delicious as that of a partridge,” the hunter said.

Earlier, addressing a ceremony held to inaugurate the festival, Director General Wildlife and Parks Department Khalid Ayaz Khan said such competitions would promote the legal hunting culture.

“We are trying our best to develop a friendly relation between hunters and the wildlife department. Through this, not only poaching would be controlled but also wildlife would be preserved.” He said the trophy hunting was going on in Cholistan where blackbucks and chinkara were being hunted by foreigners.

District Coordination Officer Mehmood Javed Bhatti advocated legal hunting. “Allah made these birds for us. And it is our duty to conserve them. This could be done through legal hunting,” he said, adding poachers would be dealt with an iron hand.

Malik Waheed Khan, the Nawab of Kalabagh, said such commercial hunting should have been started much earlier. “Wildlife is an integral part of our environment which plays a vital role in the echo system. Each species is important,” he said and added that the extinction of many species was taking a heavy toll on our environment. “The hunters should be conservators as well,” he added.

Published in Dawn November 26th, 2016

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