Socio-Ecological and Conservation Policy Study of Houbara Bustard

Asif Ali Sandeelo

This is a socio-ecological and conservation policy study related to Houbara bustard locally called Taloor in Pakistan. It intends to investigate habitat changes, population abundance, migration patterns and feeding and wintering grounds of Taloor visiting desert areas of Pakistan. It studies the impact of falconry and other human activities coupled with climate vulnerabilities to these migratory species. This research and conservation study will be conducted in Chundko, Khairpur Mirus and Jhampir, Thatta, Pakistan. The long-term goal of the project is to contribute towards laying ground for conservation and improving the dwindling population of Taloor through on-the-ground community-based conservation work and proposing reforms in conservation policies at national level.

The first-year project will focus on developing relationships with local communities and other relevant organizations which can help promote conservation of the Taloor in their natural habitat. The scientific data about different aspects of Taloor will be collected from ornithologists, conservation experts, wildlife departments and conservation organizations working on the bird. The data will be collected through participant observations, semi-structured interviews, video-aided assessments and archival research. The study will explore the role of local communities in promoting conservation, including ecosystem resilience and protecting the Taloor habitat. It intends to bridge the knowledge gaps and provide a way forward for protection of these threatened migratory species through better on-ground conservation and management of the habitat and feeding grounds. This is a first-of-its-kind study to examine the social, ecological, and policy aspects related to Taloor. It will enhance existing conservation and habitat management activities by different government and non-government organizations in a long run. The project will also contribute towards raising awareness among local populations mainly hunters, youth and students about addressing the threats to Taloor population and promote on-ground conservation. The study will assist in informed decision and policy making process and conservation planning for the bird at local and national level.

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