A peregrine falcon caught on the Arabian Sea coastline has been given a second chance of freedom thanks to the Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme.
The bird of prey was initially released on the steppes of Kazakhstan last year but was later recaptured during its autumn migration to southern Africa.
Falconers presented the peregrine to staff at the UAE release programme who soon realised it was the second time the raptor had been in their care.
Last week, the bird was re-released in Karagandy, Kazakhstan – a well-known breeding area south-east of the capital Astana – along with 56 other peregrines and eight saker falcons.
“Observers hope that this time this peregrine falcon will be able to complete the full cycle of his migration between Siberia and its winter areas in the south,” the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency said.
The Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme began in 1995 and has been responsible for releasing 1,920 birds back into the wild.
The scheme is supervised by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, in partnership with the International Fund for Houbara Conservation and the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.
Peregrine falcons are renowned for their speed and agility in the air. They can reach more than 320kph when in a steep dive.
They feed on smaller hawks, pigeons, doves and songbirds. Pairs mate for life and return to the same nesting site every year.
The peregrine released last week was fitted with a new tracking device and is currently flying over Siberia, according to officials.
All the birds underwent a thorough medical examination prior to release and each one was microchipped.
Others were also fitted with solar-powered satellite tracking devices to allow conservationists to monitor migration and breeding behaviours.
The data are used to help determine future release sites and develop better release programmes.
This year’s release in Kazakhstan was the tenth time the Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme released birds in the Central Asian country. The release was done in collaboration with Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Agriculture.