Spotted in UAE after decades: newly-hatched houbara chicks

AL AIN — In a rare development, three newly-hatched chicks of a houbara bustard have been found in the UAE sands.

By Lana Mahdi

Published: Tue 1 May 2007, 8:28 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:18 AM

Mohammad A. Al Bawardi, Managing Director of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), made this disclosure at a Press conference here.

It is an unprecedented finding as there has been no evidence of houbara bustards' nesting in the UAE sands for many decades now.

Al Bawardi also confirmed that they had found another nest of houbara bustards with three eggs in other location.

The finding also vindicates the vision of the UAE's late president, Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who believed that the UAE can provide a suitable habitat for houbara bustards.

He had formulated a strategy, nearly 18 years ago, to preserve the endangered species of the bird.

His dream now seems to be turning into a reality. The chicks, found in the UAE sands, were hatched by a houbara bustard which was earlier bred in captivity at the National Avian Research Centre (NARC).

The houbara was later released in a protected area as part of a series of experiments being conducted by NARC, Al Bawardi pointed out.

Al Bawardi added that the breeding of such birds showcases the NARC's success.

The Centre has been breeding captive houbara bustards in man-made facilities.

The finding of the three chicks in the wilds also boosts the NARC strategy of breeding and then releasing the houbara bustards in the open.

Al Bawardi said several male houbara bustards released by the NARC earlier were seen in the company of female houbara bustards which raised the hopes of finding more eggs and chicks in the future.

The EAD official also stressed the need to provide safe nesting areas for the birds.

The EAD will be assisted by volunteers of Animal Care Volunteers (Wildlife Rangers) to protect the houbara bustards.

The volunteers have assisted NARC in its projects during the last years.

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