The National Avian Research Centre (NARC) was established in 1989 and was the first specialised breeding and research facility for Asian houbara. A second centre, the Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre in Abu Dhabi (SKHBC-AD) began producing Asian houbara in 2012. Collectively, the centres have bred more than 290,000 Asian houbara and around 224,000 birds have been released to support wild populations.Explore the breeding centre
Since the first captive bred Asian houbara were released after 2009, more than 4,000 birds have been released in Jordan.
Between 2012 and 2016, 799 Asian houbara were released in Kuwait.
The Emirates Centre for Wildlife Propagation (ECWP) opened in Missour, Morocco, in 1995 primarily to breed North African houbara. A second breeding facility was established at Enjil, close to Missour in 2006. Ecologists from IFHC manage and monitor large areas of the local environment to study and protect the species. In 2001, ECWP in collaboration with Moroccan authorities established a permanent eco-reserve, which completely excluded hunting.
Collectively, the centres have bred more than 278,000 North African houbara and more than 230,000 birds have been released into the wild.Explore the breeding centre
Since 2007 over 8,000 Asian houbara have been released in Pakistan and in 2015, for the first time, birds with genetic assets identical to wild houbara in Pakistan were released.
Between 2013 and 2014, 394 captive bred Asian houbara were released into the wild in Yemen.
Kazakhstan is home to around 80% of the wild population of Asian houbara from where the birds migrate after breeding. Therefore, it is critical for the conservation of the species. IFHC has long-established links with the central Asian country and has been undertaking joint scientific research projects since 1994. The importance of the country to the future of the houbara led to the establishment of the Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre (SKHBC-KZ) in Shayan. The centre reached full capacity in 2021 breeding around 15,000 chicks annually. Since 2009, more than 28,000 birds have been released to supplement wild populations in the country.Explore the breeding centre
1,000 captive bred Asian houbara were released in Qatar in 2012.
Since the first release of Asian houbara were released in Saudi Arabia in 2015 over 2,500 birds have been released in the kingdom.
Captive bred Asian houbara have been released in Bahrain since 2013, since then over 1,200 birds have been released to supplement wild population.
Captive bred Asian houbara have been released in Uzbekistan since 2015 with more than 10,400 birds released into the wild.
497 captive bred Asian houbara were released in Turkmenistan in 2018.
IFHC has been releasing captive bred North African houbara in Algeria since 2012 with almost 12,000 birds released to support wild populations.
More than 500 North African houbara were released in Libya between 2008 and 2010.
2,204 North African houbara were released in Mauritania in 2018.
Over the past 40 years, IFHC has developed advanced breeding techniques which are now the reference point for the captive breeding of houbara.
Only by studying the birds’ physiological and behavioural characteristics, both in the wild and in captivity, can the suitable artificial conditions to breed the bird in large numbers be recreated.
From the outset, securing the genetic purity of the houbara is a major objective. Maintaining genetic purity provides the best chance of survival as captive-bred birds retain the genes of wild houbara.
Since its inception, IFHC has bred 629,927 houbara in its centres across three countries.
IFHC follows a rigorous scientific strategy for releasing birds. Strict protocols are followed, and all regulatory requirements are adhered to before houbara are released in specially selected sites in countries across the species’ range.
Surveys of potential release sites are undertaken to ensure the correct environmental conditions are in place to maximise the survival of the released houbara.
After release, the birds are observed and monitored in their natural habitats. The data and information gathered by the field teams is of great importance both to IFHC and to local organisations in the range states to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems.
Since its inception, IFHC has released 487,403 houbara into the wild in 15 separate countries across the species’ range.