Houbara bustard reproduction observed in their historical habitats in Jordan

ABU DHABI — The field teams of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in Jordan, have observed a new indicator of the natural reproduction of the houbara, launched in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan at the initiative of the International Fund for the Conservation of Houbara (IFHC).

Under the initiative, 1,300 houbara birds in captivity were released into the wild in 2014, 2015 and 2017 in different parts of the historical habitats of the Asian houbara in Jordan.

Two houbara chicks were spotted in southwestern Jordan and a nest was discovered in Wadi Rum. The field teams also found another houbara nest in eastern Jordan last year. These discoveries covered a limited number of houbaras equipped with satellite and radio transmitters, showing that they adapt to resettlement in areas where they had disappeared in the past.

“The birds produced by the breeding centres in Abu Dhabi, Kazakhstan and the Kingdom of Morocco are adapting to the wildlife environment and contributing to the re-establishment of extinct groups or the increase in the number of birds in different parts of the international range of the houbara’s spread,” Mohamed Saleh al-Baidani, Director-General of the IFHC, said.

He added that the systems, models and protocols developed by the International Fund at its various centres prepare birds to adapt to life in the wild. It also helps choose launch areas and dates, establish local communities to protect the birds, preserve their natural habitats, improve the environment, and encourage the spread and reproduction of the houbara.

“Today, these efforts have borne fruit, with the proportion of birds that survive during the first year growing from 57 percent to 80 percent in the launch areas. In light of these successive indicators of success, we are releasing the houbara in the wild for natural reproduction. Hence, their reproduction has increased in the UAE, Morocco and Kazakhstan to 53,000 annually,” al-Baidani added.

The project is being implemented within the framework of a joint co-operation agreement between the UAE and Jordan. The aim is to settle groups of houbaras in their historic habitats in Jordan.

The IFHC is a global organisation dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the houbara bustard a vulnerable bird. The Fund oversees an extensive network of affiliated global conservation projects and captive breeding programmes. It is considered to be the leading authority on understanding and protecting this noble bird, which is extremely significant to Arabian heritage and culture.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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