ABU DHABI: The Abu Dhabi Government entity, International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), the global leader in the Houbara bustard conservation, and the Israel Nature & Heritage Foundation (INHF) have today announced a major research project to study resident populations of the Asian Houbara bustard in Israel.
This will be the first project undertaken following the landmark signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between the parties in November 2020.
IFHC conservation experts with decades of scientific experience will work jointly with INHF scientists to survey and study the remnant resident population of Houbara bustard in Israel. The objective is to bring accurate and updated data on its status and better understand its ecology and behaviour.
This will include: population distribution and density, breeding and survival rates, habitat quality and movement through data tracking. In addition, the project will study the genetic structure of the population to assess if it differs from other populations across the range (recent studies indicate that the Houbara in Israel may have a local genetic adaptation). From such research the parties will develop future conservation measures.
Commenting on this ground-breaking project, Majid Ali Al Mansouri, Managing Director, IFHC, said: "Abu Dhabi has led the way in Houbara conservation and has unrivalled expertise in relation to the species. Cooperation with INHF sits perfectly within IFHC’s objectives to continually further our understanding of the ecology of the Houbara and work with international partners to enhance the conservation of the species. Real science allows us to take real, impactful action to conserve the species for future generations." On behalf of INHF, Major General Matan Vilnai, said: "Following the signing of our landmark MOU last year, INHF congratulates the hard work of our joint scientists to develop this project to increase our knowledge of both the Houbara and its habitat within Israel. Such knowledge will enable us to better preserve this vulnerable species." Israel is home to resident Asian Houbara mainly observed in the Negev desert. INFH protects and conserves Israel’s nature, landscapes and heritage sites in coordination with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), and is developing a Master Plan for Wildlife Conservation in the Northern and Central Negev, where the Houbara is a key species. Globally, IFHC is leading efforts to rebalance wild Houbara populations across its range countries through its successful breeding and release programme that has so far bred more than 636,000 Houbara and used 486,000 plus birds for conservation actions.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2021.