UAE, Kazakhstan sign deal to protect endangered bustard

Abu Dhabi, Jan 19 (IANS/WAM) Abu Dhabi and Kazakhstan Sunday signed an agreement to cooperate for the preservation of the endangered Houbara bustard.

At a special ceremony held here, the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) and Kazakhstan’s ministry of environment and water resources agreed to “protect, breed and restore” the wild Asian Houbara bustard population.

Under the direction of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and in line with his strategy to provide a sustainable future for the bird at the heart of local culture and tradition, the agreement builds upon a longstanding and successful relationship between the two countries.

The focus of the agreement concerns arrangements for the Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre-Kazakhstan (SKHBC-KZ) at Shayan, which is the fourth in the world to be managed as part of IFHC’s international efforts to preserve the Houbara bustards.

The ultimate target of the centre is to breed and release up to 10,000 Asian Houbara bustards every year.

“Kazakhstan is a country critical to the ecology of the iconic Houbara, so securing this cooperation agreement will greatly enhance the prospects of providing a sustainable future for this iconic bird,” Mohamed Al Bowardi, deputy chairman of the IFHC board, said at the signing ceremony.

“As home to the world’s largest population of migratory Asian Houbara, Kazakhstan has an important role to play in its preservation,” said Bagdat Azbayev, chairman of the forestry and hunting reserve committee of Kazakhstan’s ministry of environment and water resources.

“The government of Kazakhstan is committed to protecting the natural environment and welcomes today’s agreement, which not only helps in our efforts to provide the bird with a sustainable future, but consolidates relations between our two countries,” he added.

As well as arrangements for breeding the Houbara bustard, the agreement will assist in the development of protection zones and habitat preservation.

It also reinforces existing principles of conservation cooperation, such as preserving diversity, protecting wild species, and respecting cultural values, in particular the heritage status of falconry.

–IANS/WAM

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