1/15/2018 10:44:03 PM
(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN – A new batch of the houbara bustard, a rare desert bird that has been extinct in Jordan until recently, will be released back to its natural habitat under an ongoing programme to reintroduce the bird to the Kingdom, a conservationist said on Monday.
The houbara bustard, recognised by nature conservationists as 'an icon of the Arabian desert', will be released in February under the second phase of a programme started in 2014 under a partnership between the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) and the Abu Dhabi-based International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC).
The RSCN and the IFHC on Sunday signed the agreement of the programme's second phase, after field surveys proved the success of the first phase with the apparition of nests and chicks, RSCN Director General Yehya Khaled said.
"The new batch of birds will be released under the second phase in February in the historical habitat of the houbara, including Wadi Araba, the eastern and northeastern desert," Khaled told The Jordan Times.
The second phase will last until 2022, Khaled said, noting that the society will release batches every year.
The IFHC will be transferring the birds to Jordan from breeding centres located abroad, according to the RSCN official.
The houbara bustard reintroduction programme started in Jordan as an initiative of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces, according to the RSCN, which said that the bird was last recorded in Jordan in the 1990s due to the destruction of its habitat and high levels of hunting.
A total of 1,300 birds has been released in Jordan between 2014 and 2017, according to the society, which reported sightings of houbara nests in the east of the country, nest and chicks in Wadi Araba and nesting in the Wadi Rum area.