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CONSERVATION BREAKTHROUGH AS CAPTIVE-BRED HOUBARA MIGRATES IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Date : 23/01/2020

Description :

Data collected on Houbara bred at Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre in Kazakhstan indicates an increase in birds overwintering in Arabian Peninsula

IFHC calls on falconers to be vigilant of tagged Houbara and alert authorities

Kazakhstan—23 January 2020 :

New scientific data from the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), the global leader in houbara bustard conservation, has revealed Asian Houbara bred in captivity at the Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre in Kazakhstan (SKHBC-Kz) are following similar migratory routes to birds born in the wild.

Data collected by IFHC from tracking devices and identifying rings fitted to the Asian Houbara bred and released in the wild in Kazakhstan indicated that these birds take the same migration paths as wild Houbara and move to the Arabian Peninsula during the winter.

The Fund monitored 2,130 wild and captive-bred Houbara in the past year through satellite tracking devices, providing crucial information on migratory behaviour. The research confirms that IFHC’s conservation breeding programme is successfully releasing Asian Houbara capable of long-distance migration, underlining the long-term effectiveness of IFHC’s renowned breeding and release programme – a cornerstone activity in the Fund’s strategy to secure a sustainable future for the emblematic species.

The migratory pattern data highlights that captive-bred Houbara released by SKHBC-Kz can withstand being in the wild and are following the long-distance migration routes typically associated with the behaviour of wild Houbara.

These results support the Fund's endeavours to re-balance Houbara Bustard populations across the species’ range, from Mongolia in the east to the Arabian Peninsula in the west, while reinforcing IFHC’s role as a leader in preserving vulnerable wildlife species.

 

“These findings are a testament to the success of the leadership’s vision to preserve the Asian Houbara in the region and internationally.

“This overwhelmingly positive development reaffirms our great hope of restoring long-migrant Houbara populations from Kazakhstan, resulting in more Houbara overwintering in the Arabian Peninsula. Furthermore, this latest data shines considerable light on the benefits of the pre-emptive conservation model in securing sustainable futures for vulnerable species,” added Al Mansouri.

One of four IFHC conservation breeding facilities, the SKHBC-Kz will have the capacity to breed 15,000 houbara chicks annually when it becomes fully operational later this year. In 2019, the centre bred more than 7,000 Asian houbara chicks.

Since the 1990s, the pre-emptive conservation model developed by IFHC has been applied to combat threats to the vulnerable Houbara Bustard and secure a sustainable future for the species. IFHC is also leading the call for closer international cooperation to establish reserves, educate local communities and support the implementation of agreements and international legislation ensuring adequate protection for Houbara and its’ natural habitats.

Meanwhile, His Excellency Al Mansouri called on all falconers or anyone who discovers Houbara fitted with a tracking device or identification rings to communicate with the IFHC immediately to contribute to Abu Dhabi efforts to monitor these birds and collect information that will aid the progress of the breeding and release programme.

ENDS

About the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC):

Continuing an initiative by the late Sheikh Zayed, Abu Dhabi has undertaken the task to rescue the threatened houbara bustard. A global conservation strategy was developed and implemented over the past forty years with the objective of ensuring the species has a sustainable future in the wild through effective and appropriate conservation programmes and management plans. Since 1995, the conservation strategy adopted consists of an integrated approach combining sound ecology, protection measures in the wild, conservation breeding, and effective reinforcement programmes. The IHFC was created in 2006 to further the original programme by managing international assets and securing partnerships across the range of the houbara, which encourage sustainable practices to ensure the species’ conservation.

 

For more information, visit the website of the International Fund for Houbara Conservation: www.houbarafund.org

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