The International Fund for Houbara Conservation released 51 Asian houbaras to mark the 51st National Day of the UAE in collaboration with Mohamed bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School and the participation of a group of UAE University’s veterinary medicine students.
Each of the birds signifies a year of the 51 years since the union of the Emirates, the years of its development and the successes the nation has achieved. The occasion also coincides with the 40th birthday of the first houbara that hatched at Al Ain Zoo in the United Arab Emirates in 1982.
Commenting on the occasion, Mohamed Saleh Al Baydani, Director General of the International Fund for Houbara Conservation, said: "With the symbolic release of houbaras on this joyous occasion, we celebrate the fulfillment of the vision of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, of sustaining our heritage and protecting houbaras as a continuation of the houbara conservation programme he established in the 1970s.
His vision came into reality with the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, under the mandates of the Board of Directors of the International Fund for Houbara Conservation."
This year, a group of veterinary medicine students from the United Arab Emirates University participated in the houbara release in conjunction with the launch of the higher education programme of the “Conservation Education: the Houbara Model", a national curriculum integration and cross-curricular programme by the IFHC.
The launch follows the great success the curriculum integration has achieved on a national level in the public education sector with the support of the Ministry of Education and participating schools.
The symbolic houbara release was followed by a number of events packed with active participation of students and Fund representatives, which included a presentation and a lecture on natural habitat studies, field research, and a panel discussion on the role of veterinarians by two specialized experts and an experienced national falconer.
The annual release of new generations of houbaras, which hatched in the care of the Fund's breeding centers, signifies the most important achievements of the International Fund for Houbara Conservation, as it became a role model in the field of proactive wildlife conservation and intervention to restore the numbers of houbaras in the UAE and other countries it inhabits.