A UAE first for these chicks

Picture courtesy: Wam

The International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) announced that its ground-breaking captive breeding programme has celebrated passing another milestone in breeding the iconic Houbara bustard.

The record number of 40,340 is a 31 per cent increase on the previous annual record set in 2012 and is the latest milestone in Abu Dhabi’s impressive history in providing a sustainable future for a bird at the heart of Arabic culture and tradition.

Since the breeding programme for Houbara produced its first chick in 1996, over 160,000 of the birds have been bred in centres managed by IFHC.

The success of its captive breeding programme will be showcased at the Fund’s stand at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex) which opens today and will run until September 7 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).

The Fund’s theme at Adihex this year is how it is providing a sustainable future for the Houbara.

Director-General of IFHC, Mohammed Saleh Al Baidani, said, "This year’s record production provides another boost in our on-going efforts to provide a sustainable future for the Houbara.

“The experience and knowledge we have gained over many years studying the ecology of the Houbara has been fed into our captive breeding programme, enabling the Fund to reach new heights.

“Added to our holistic approach to conservation, IFHC is leading the way in species conservation as will be displayed at Adihex 2013"

IFHC breeds two sub-species of the Houbara family: the Asian Houbara and the North African Houbara.

The range of the Asian Houbara stretches thousands of kilometres.
It can be found as far south as the Arabian Peninsula with some of the birds migrating as far as China and Mongolia in the east.

IFHC has two breeding centres in Abu Dhabi and also has a breeding programme in Kazakhstan (an important country as it is home to 80 per cent of the world’s population of migratory Asian Houbara).

In 2013, IFHC produced a total of 19,670 Asian Houbara chicks as part of the Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Reintroduction Project to restore sustainable, wild populations in the UAE.

The two breeding centres in Abu Dhabi (National Avian Research Centre and Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre – Abu Dhabi) produced 19,273 chicks with an additional 397 bred in Kazakhstan.

The Emirates Centre for Wildlife Conservation (ECWP), based in Missour, Morocco has been breeding North African Houbara since 1997.

In 2013, its two breeding stations produced 20,340 of the species, which is found in North African countries like Morocco and Libya. This year’s production was also an annual record for ECWP, bringing the total number of birds to 111,336 since the programme started.

IFHC’s uniquely designed stand at Adihex takes visitors through the story of Abu Dhabi’s efforts over thirty years and explains what the Fund is doing to conserve the emblematic species.

As well as live Houbara on display on the stand, IFHC will be showcasing its education programme, run in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Education Council, with a kids’ corner including electronic games and different activities. Wam

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