Abu Dhabi conservationists sign agreement with Israel to protect houbara

Experts will work together to preserve habitats of rare species in the Negev desert

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Conservationists in Abu Dhabi will collaborate with the Israel Nature and Heritage Foundation (INHF) to protect rare birds in the region.

The International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) and the INHF will work together over the next five years on the conservation of the houbara bustard and other vulnerable species in Israel.

We anticipate delivering a significant boost to conservation of threatened bird species within Israel

An agreement between both parties was signed after the normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel resulting from the historic Abraham Accord reached in August.

“Under this landmark agreement, INHF will benefit from IFHC’s substantial knowledge on the biology, behaviour and population dynamics of the houbara bustard,” said Maj Gen Matan Vilnai of the INHF.

“We can also learn of other vulnerable species and the IFHC’s expertise in the restoration and preservation of habitats and ecosystems.

“Working in co-ordination with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, we will now together prepare and implement programmes for effective houbara conservation in our country.”

The two parties will collaborate on research, conservation and restoration activities on agreed rare and threatened species in Israel, such as the Asian houbara, mainly observed in the Negev desert.

Houbaras are sought after by falconers, because they are the traditional prey for hunting birds and are often smuggled illegally across regional borders.

The agreement will involve field studies and research aimed at preserving the houbara population and its habitat.

Experts will monitor wild populations to assess survival, dispersal and breeding success to develop the most successful conservation measures.

"This is a momentous accord for IFHC, allowing us to co-operate with experts in a country that is an intercontinental bird migration junction and where great conservation efforts are being undertaken," said Majid Al Mansouri, IFHC's managing director.

“In our drive to foster greater global dialogue and co-operation on conservation we are honoured to share IFHC’s years of scientific research and excellence in the field with our fellow committed conservationists in Israel.

“We anticipate our collaboration delivering a significant boost to conservation of rare and threatened bird species in Israel and to the international bank of scientific conservation knowledge.”