UAE helps open Houbara conservation museum in Saudi Arabia

The centre is the first of its kind in the Kingdom and aims to spread awareness about houbara conservation

AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Houbara birds upon their released at the release of 50 Houbara birds into their Habitat of the UAE desert by The International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC).  Leslie Pableo for The National
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The International Fund for Houbara Conservation has opened a museum in Saudi Arabia as part of a UAE-Saudi partnership.

Houbara Guidance Centre in Al Qassim Park, located in the Al Qassim Region, between Riyadh and Medinah, aims to spread awareness about the need to conserve the vulnerable species and its habitat.

It is the first centre of its kind in the country.

"This partnership with Al Qassim region underlines the fund’s international vision to increase and maintain the wild Houbara populations through effective intervention and exceptional leadership in the conservation of species, and to raise awareness of the importance of houbara in maintaining a stable and balanced ecosystem,” said Ali Al Shamsi, who works in the education and communication department at IFHC.

"I’d like to thank the commitment of Prince Faisal and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their commitment and support in spreading awareness of the Houbara species and the need to ensure its future," he said.

The Houbara bustard was pushed to the brink of extinction due to unregulated hunting and poaching.

The species is currently classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. But it is making a recovery thanks to efforts by the IFHC.

It runs a Houbara breeding and release programme, which stretches across the species’ migratory range, from Mauritania in north-west Africa to Mongolia in east Asia. Birds have been released by the organisation in countries including Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

Data suggests the Asian Houbara travels an average of 6,000km during the migration season.