Breeders from the Emirates Centre for Wildlife Propagation have released 209 houbara bustards into the wild in Libya. The reintroduction of the birds, which were bred in captivity, was part of an effort to save the species from extinction, as ordered by Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE. Last year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, helped to set free more than 5,000 houbaras in the eastern desert of Morocco. It was considered to be the largest ever release of the species into the wild.
The Emirates Centre has the capacity to raise 8,000 of the birds in its 40-square-kilometre sanctuary in Missour, in southern Morocco. The UAE is on target to breed thousands of the birds every year, and the houbara population in captivity is already self-sustaining. * With additional reporting by WAM