UAE's scientific breakthrough on bird conservation

Over 40 ornithologists, environmentalists and wildlife and nature defenders and researchers will descend on Abu Dhabi on Tuesday for the first international symposium on conservation and breeding of endangered birds species.

Mubarak Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the President's Business Department, organisers of the three-day event, will reveal to the local, regional and international gathering findings of the world first-ever scientific breakthrough project which the Department's Natural Reserves Management has been consistently researching for more than two years.

Organisers say Abu Dhabi has been chosen as the host of this important scientific event for its staggering successes it has achieved in convening and hosting international specialised meetings and for the high profile the Department's Research Centre maintains as one of the most active and reliable research institutes for conserving and breeding endangered birds in the world.

The Centre is part of the huge efforts being made by Abu Dhabi, and the UAE, to protect the Houbara Bustard, the ultimate quarry of falconers, using state-of-the-art techniques and most recent scientific innovations.

 Since 1989, Abu Dhabi government has been striving to conserve and breed the Houbara Bustard, an important element of the UAE heritage and falconry, after the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan sounded the alarm bell that the rare shy bird was on the verge of extinction because of excessive hunting and poaching, lack of financial resources for good management of their habitats.

A conservation programme was launched to preserve the endangered Houbara from extinction with the belief that the UAE could provide a suitable habitat for these birds if provided with the appropriate conditions.

As staunch defender of the environment and wildlife, the UAE has founded several avian research centres for protecting and conserving endangered birds in the Arabia.

In 2010, the President's Department launched an advanced programme for cross breeding and pollination as a mechanism for increasing the houbara population in their habitats in the UAE wild.

Recognising these amazing efforts, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan gave his patronage to an international conference dedicated to finding ways of protecting endangered birds.

The UAE conservation programmes included local and overseas re-introduction and re-stocking of depleted populations. Captive bred Houbaras - all fitted with transmitters - were released also.

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