For the first time since its release between 2014-2016 under the Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Houbara Reintroduction Project, a Houbara bustard nest has been spotted by field teams from the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in Jordan (RSCN). The initiative is managed by the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC).
The Houbara bustard is a vulnerable species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the authoritative global body which categorises species according to the threat of extinction. The release is part of the IFHC’s strategy to breed and release African and Asian Houbara bustards across their natural range covering Asia, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, in a bid to re-establish a sustainable population. The nest was discovered thanks to tracking devices utilised by the IFHC as part of its breeding and release programme and was found to contain three eggs.
Mohammad Saleh Al Baidani, Director General of the IFHC said: “The discovery of this nest highlights the accuracy of our research and serves as an indication of the first step towards a viable population of Houbara across the Kingdom of Jordan. Thanks to the data we gather through the use of tracking devices, we are able to carefully monitor the migration routes and capacity of the released captive-bred Houbara to adapt to the wilderness, thereby increasing our knowledge of this vulnerable species and hopefully the success of our programme.”
The IFHC released 500 Houbara in Jordan in 2014, and 300 in 2016 after an agreement between Abu Dhabi and Jordan to work together towards the re-establishment of a viable population of Houbara across the Kingdom. The agreement includes initiatives to implement a national awareness raising programme, specialised research to assess the programme’s success, development of legislation to establish protected release sites, and implementation of programmes for the development of local communities located around the release sites. (Gulf News)