Abu Dhabi’s conservation efforts translate into 629,900 more houbaras – News
The Houbara conservation fund will work with other countries to increase the number of bird release sites
Houbara Bustards, an integral part of the UAE’s heritage, benefit from all the attention they receive at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Riding Exhibition (Adihex). The rare and elusive birds of the desert are undisturbed by curious onlookers and strike a pose for a quick photo as well.
Over the years, these vulnerable birds have been protected by the Abu Dhabi-based International Fund for Conservation of Houbara (IFHC), which is one of the largest projects of its kind in the world. To date, the total production of houbaras has reached 629,927, since breeding started in 1996 and 487,403 have been released into the wild.
Ali Al Shamsi, official spokesperson for the IFHC, pointed out that it was the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who in the 1970s first noticed the number decreasing of houbaras in nature. In 1977, Sheikh Zayed started a conservation program at Al Ain Zoo and in 1982 the first Asian Houbara chick hatched.
“We started producing houbaras in our breeding centers in 1996. Over the years, we have increased the number of houbaras. From 5 in 1996 to 82,346 this year. We produce Asian and North African houbaras. We have 4 breeding centers, with 2 in Sweihan, Abu Dhabi and 1 each in Kazakhstan and Morocco, ”said Al Shamsi.
Over the years, conservation efforts have resulted in the release of over 487,000 birds into the wild.
“In 1998, the first 2 birds were released into the wild. In 2021, we released 68,909 of them. These were published in 15 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, ”noted Al Shamsi.
In the future, the IFHC plans to collaborate with other countries to increase the number of release sites. “The area of distribution of the houbara is vast, starting from the Arabian Peninsula for the Asian houbara, going to the north of Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Magnolia, and the North African houbara from Morocco to Egypt, ”Al Shamsi added.
The exhibition is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and runs until October 3. Visitors can book their tickets online at https://adihex.com/.
Children’s short story book unveiled on houbara conservation
The Houbara International Conservation Fund (IFHC) unveiled a short story book with 15 chapters written by public school students in the United Arab Emirates.
The book Qessas Min Bee’atina (Stories from our environment) was compiled following a competition in which more than 80 schools participated, from which 15 stories were shortlisted.
“We ran a nationwide competition where students were offered three different themes. Each school could submit a story on a theme of their choice. We have selected 15 wonderful stories and published this book. Some stories focus on the UAE’s conservation efforts, making the country the best place for migrating birds, etc. Student illustrations have been developed and redesigned for publication, ”said Hamda Al Ameri, Senior Specialist, Outreach, Education and Communication Department.
“We are now working with the Ministry of Education to integrate this storybook into the curriculum,” she told Adihex.
The IFHC is set to relaunch the official website, which will be more interactive and provide a better overview of the UAE’s efforts to preserve and support houbara in the wild.