Abu Dhabi: “The Bay”
The International Fund for Houbara Conservation, the world’s leading wildlife conservation body, is celebrating this year the 40th anniversary of the first capture of the Houbara chick at the Al Ain Zoo in the UAE, in 1982. The celebration comes during its participation in the Abu Dhabi International Hunt – and riding exhibition.
Mohammed Al-Baydani, the Foundation’s Director General, said: “The Foundation’s pioneering efforts have been able to reap the rewards of success as we move forward in developing capacities to conserve the species through continuous work in genetic research and captive breeding , and continuing the initiative of the founding leader, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul. To save the Houbara, our collective work has upgraded the species’ status from “endangered” to “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List We have also reached advanced stages in raising awareness of the importance of Houbara.
As part of the celebration, the Foundation announced that the number of Houbara it has released has reached 549,816 Houbara in 17 countries since 1998. According to studies conducted by the Foundation, it has been proven that the migrating Houbara produced in captivity , follows the same path to wild Houbara hiking. The data, which was obtained based on the latest technical satellite tracking, confirmed that Houbara, which was bred in captivity and released in Kazakhstan in July and September, reached the Arabian Peninsula during November.
Worldwide, a total of 706,284 Houbara have been produced in captivity since 1996, and in the UAE, which is the largest contributor to production, it has produced 404,753 Houbara. The foundation has a global network of Houbara Conservation Centers that aim to restore Houbara populations to sustainable levels around the world. The United Arab Emirates witnessed the largest release of Asian Houbara into the wild with a total of 98,182 birds between 2004 and 2022. As for the North African Houbara, Morocco saw the largest release into the wild, reaching 189,109 North African Houbara between 1998 and 2021.
It is worth noting that as of September 2022, out of 549,816 birds, 55 percent of them were the Asian Houbara in 12 countries, while 49 percent of the North African Houbara were released in five countries.
Hamad Al Raisi, co-ordinator of environmental work at the foundation, said: “The main factor in the success of our 40-year program has been environmental research into the habitat and behavior of the Houbara. This research is a huge advantage for us as we carry out our pioneering work in breeding the Houbara in captivity and releasing them into the wild. We continue to monitor birds even after they are released, using satellite tracking devices attached to the birds to learn more about their survival and behavior.”
Abu Dhabi: “The Bay”