The Restoration of the Houbara Bustard in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

The Asian Houbara (Chlamydotis macqueenii) is considered a rare and endangered species at global level. It lives and breed in semi-desert and grassland ecosystems. Remnant Asian Houbara populations are widespread with a migrant and a resident form. Resident birds are distributed from the Negev Desert to Western India up to South Turkmenistan, as well as through the Arabian Peninsula. Migrant birds winter in the range of resident houbara but breed in Turmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia. In Jordan, the  Houbara (resident and wintering migrant) was historically found within the borders of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Negev Deserts in Palestine adjacent to Wadi Araba. As a result of natural habitats destruction and hunting, this bird has almost disappeared from the wild late in this century.

Through the efforts of the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) to restore Houbara population in their former natural distribution range, the Royal society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) was contacted to cooperate in a restoration programme of Houbara in Jordan, starting with an experimental release of Houbara groups in the Jordan, then to development a long term project to sustain the species in the wild.

The main aim that the project will achieve is “establish a viable population of Houbara Bustard in the known and historical distribution range in Jordan, in cooperation with all stakeholders and local communities around this range”. In addition; other goals that will be in target as national awareness programme specifically oriented to the restoration project of Houbara in Jordan including develop a specific Law enforcement and protection plan for the Houbara in the releasing sites and local communities’ development programme around the releasing sites. Also this project aims to apply specialized research and monitoring programme to assess its succession and capacity building programmes for the local staff.