UAE releases 52 falcons in Kazakhstan under conservation programme

The Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme has rewilded 2,211 birds since inception

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The UAE has released 52 falcons into the wild in Kazakhstan to help sustain the species.

The birds were rewilded as part of the Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme, a long-standing conservation programme that began about 30 years ago.

The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, which supervises the programme, said 23 Peregrine falcons and 29 Saker falcons were released on May 5 and May 6 this year in the Karaganda region – a key region for migrating falcons.

The birds underwent a full range of medical examinations and extensive training, and received their final tests on the morning of the launch.

Each was implanted with an electronic chip and fitted with an identification ring.

Eleven falcons were also fitted with solar-powered satellite tracking devices to monitor survival rates, spread and traditional migration paths.

The devices also collect scientific data to develop methods of preparation, rehabilitation, training, release and selection of suitable sites for falcons.

Watch: UAE releases 52 falcons in Kazakhstan

Watch: UAE releases 52 falcons in Kazakhstan

Previous tracking data showed that the Karaganda region was popular with falcons released by the programme in the past.

The agency said Kazakhstan provided an ideal location for the release of falcons due to its mountains and plains that are host to prey essential for falcons to thrive.

The Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme has rewilded a total of 2,211 birds so far.

This year's release was the 14th consecutive event in Kazakhstan. The total number of birds released in the country so far has reached 911 – comprising 293 Saker falcons and 618 Peregrine falcons.

The birds were released under the supervision of the forests and wildlife committee in the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture.

“Aligning with the directives of the UAE leadership, Abu Dhabi continues its pioneering global efforts in preserving nature and protecting wildlife,” said Mohammed Al Bowardi, vice chairman of the agency and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation.

“This includes our exceptional endeavours to preserve falcons, houbara and other wildlife of environmental, cultural and historical importance.

“As a result, we have succeeded in increasing their chances of overcoming risks threatening their survival and prosperity in nature.”

Updated: June 30, 2023, 12:36 PM