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First Book on Natural History of the Asian Houbara Unveiled in Abu Dhabi

Date : 28/09/2018

Description :

Study uses decades of data and learning from Abu Dhabi’s Houbara Conservation Programme

Abu Dhabi, 28 September 2018: Today, in Abu Dhabi, the first major book detailing the natural ecology of the Asian Houbara bustard was unveiled during the Abu Dhabi Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) currently taking place at the National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). The book uses data gathered over many decades through the Abu Dhabi Houbaraconservation programme, as well as utilising many years of research undertaken in the field across the vast range of the species, which stretches from Mongolia in the east to the Gulf region in the west.

‘A Natural History of the Asian Houbara Bustard’ is the definitive story of the species and has been authored by renowned experts in the field: Olivier Combreau and Mohammed Saleh Al Baidhani, (Director General, IFHC). Commenting on the book’s release, Mr. Al Baidhani said: “This book has been years in the making and I am very proud that we have unveiled it during the Year of Zayed, as it is thanks to him that Abu Dhabi has a Houbara conservation programme. It is a celebration both of the legacy of Sheikh Zayed and the enduring passion we have for a species that it central to local heritage and culture.”

The comprehensive book begins by covering the evolution of the species, its distribution range, habitats and diet. It then goes into great detail about the Houbara’sbehaviour in its breeding grounds and its migration, which can cover thousands of kilometers. The books ends with a commentary on modern developments and the challenges the species faces in a fast-changing world.

Al Baidhani added, “The book is the culmination of many decades work by many people. When Abu Dhabi began its programme to restore the Houbara not much was known about this naturally shy bird. Over the past forty years, we have learned a lot more about the species and its behaviour. This information has been used to develop the Houbara conservation programme, and forms the basis for much of what we have written about in the book, and I want to thank all those who have contributed to making this possible.”

Notes for Editors:

Mohammed Saleh Hassan Al Baidani :is the Director General at the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), a position he has held since February 2009. Prior to becoming Director General of IFHC, Mohammed spent some 13 years with the National Avian Research Centre (NARC) and the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi (EAD). During this time, he worked as a field technician and international collaboration coordinator, becoming Acting Director of NARC in June 2009.

Dr Olivier Combreau: Following his doctoral degree in animal behaviour, he worked as an ecologist at the National Wildlife Research Center in Taif, Saudi Arabia, where he developed Houbara release and monitoring techniques and carried out Houbara ecology research. In 1996, he joined NARC in Abu Dhabi to put in place large-scale population dynamics and general ecology studies across the distribution range of the Asian Houbara. From 2001 to 2009, Olivier was the director of NARC where he successfully formulated and developed intensive indoor Houbara captive breeding, ecology research and conservation and public awareness programmes. Subsequently, he has been a consultant to IFHC and an adviser to the Emirates Wildlife Society.

About The International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC)

Initiated by the late Sheikh Zayed, Abu Dhabi undertook a programmer to restore the threatened Houbara bustard. A global conservation strategy was developed and the 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. From 1995, the conservation strategy adopted consisted in an integrated approach combining sound ecology, protection measures in the wild, conservation breeding and reinforcement programmers. IHFC was created in 2006 to take the original programme further by managing international assets and securing partnerships across the range of the Houbara that encourage sustainable practices to ensure the conservation of Houbara.

The website of the International Fund for Houbara Conservation: www.houbarafund.org

For more information, please contact:

Ali Mubarak Al Shamsi, Acting Head of Communications & Public Relations

+971 2 693 4436

+971 50 5381118

ali.alshamsi@houbara-fund.ae

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