42 ICONIC HOUBARA BUSTARDS UNIQUELY TAGGED WITH UAE COLOURS FLY HIGH FOR NATIONAL DAY
Spirit of the Union on display as Emirati schoolchildren witness special event Abu Dhabi, 27 November 2013: 42 Asian Houbara were today released into the wild by the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) in recognition of National Day in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The number of birds released represents one for each year since the country was united in 1971 and is a celebration of national pride in the success of a project inspired by the late Sheikh Zayed and made a reality through the leadership of the President, HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. To mark the occasion the birds were given special ring tags in the colours of the UAE.
Mohamed Saleh Al Baidani, Director General of IFHC said: “The release of 42 iconic Houbara into the wild today truly symbolises the Spirit of the Union. The programme to conserve the Houbara for future generations is derived from the passion of the late Sheikh Zayed, while the commitment of HH Sheikh Khalifa is ensuring that the Houbara will remain at the heart of our national identity for future generations. Their vision and leadership has placed the Houbara programme at the forefront of progress in the field of conservation and all Emiratis should be immensely proud of what has been achieved. The birds we released today have UAE coloured rings so they are literally flying the flag for the UAE.”
30 children from two local schools were on hand to witness the release of the iconic Houbara near Sweihan, Abu Dhabi. The 15 boys and 15 girls who attended the event were Grade 5 students from Al Aasma school for boys and Al Aliya school for girls. As well as witnessing the release of the Houbara into the wild, the children also learnt about the cultural and scientific importance of the bird, took part in the Houbara Quiz and were treated to traditional food.
Al Baidani added: “The attendance of local children at today’s celebration is vitally important. They are the future generation of Emiratis who will benefit from the legacy being provided by HH Sheikh Khalifa, and bestowing Sheikh Zayed’s passion for education and the natural world will help ensure the progress we have made will continue into the future.”
The released birds were bred at the National Avian Research Centre (NARC), one of four centres managed by IFHC around the world as part of a major, international conservation project. The ground-breaking work carried out by IFHC in the breeding and release of the Houbara means the UAE is leading the way in the sustainable conservation of species. The birds released today are part of the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Houbara Reintroduction Project to restore a sustainable wild population of a bird synonymous with local culture and traditions to the UAE.
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About The International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC)
Established in 2006 by Royal Decree from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to oversee the conservation and restoration of the wild Houbara populations to numbers that will ensure its long-term preservation while maintaining a traditional pillar of Arabian heritage - Falconry.
The IFHC includes:
National Avian Research Centre (NARC) - Sweihan – Abu Dhabi – UAE