International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) Abu Dhabi and Houbara Foundation International Pakistan jointly released 150 captive bred houbara bustard in the Cholistan desert.
In the past several years, hundreds of birds have been released, amongst which the largest number was 600 houbara released in March 2015, 200 houbara were released in February 2016 and 500 birds were released in March 2017. These birds are from the bloodline of Pakistan’s resident species and were released to reinforce country’s current population of the species in the wild.
A recent report published by IFHC revealed a revolutionary success in their breeding programme by producing over 59,000 houbara bustard across their breeding centres; releasing thousands of captive-bred birds to help sustain existing wild populations.
Ever since the breeding programme began, over 206,000 houbara have been bred. Of these, around 137,831 birds have been released into the wild. IFHC is now producing over 59,000 houbara every year. Having been under highly specialised care, the birds being brought to Pakistan have been well-prepared to manage themselves in the wild. All the birds were individually tagged with identification rings while selected birds were also tagged with satellite transmitters for scientists to carry out monitoring of the birds after release and record their movements, habitat preferences and ability to breed.
After the release, the data would be generated bi-weekly. Movement patterns and changing locations of the birds would be communicated to Houbara Foundation International Pakistan for field validation and further investigations.
Before being moved from Abu Dhabi to Pakistan by air, the birds were closely examined and certified fit.