An Asian Houbara, via Argos
Abu Dhabi-headquartered International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) has entered a ground-breaking partnership with the Israel Nature & Heritage Foundation (INHF) to collaborate on conservation on threatened birds.
The breakthrough MoU will see both organisations collaborate over the next five years on the conservation of the Houbara bustard and other rare and threatened bird species in Israel.
The MoU was signed on behalf of IFHC by His Excellency Majid Ali Al Mansouri, and on behalf of INHF by Major General Matan Vilnai.
It follows the normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel with the signing of the Abraham Accords Agreement back in August 2020. All sorts of areas in sustainability are opening up between the nations since. Read our primer here.
“Under this landmark agreement, INHF will benefit from IFHC’s substantial knowledge on the biology, behaviour and population dynamics of the Houbara bustard and other vulnerable species and its expertise in the restoration and preservation of habitats and ecosystems,” said Vilnai.
“Working in coordination with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, we will now together prepare and implement programmes for effective Houbara conservation within our country.”
“This is a momentous accord for IFHC, allowing us to cooperate with experts in a country that is an intercontinental bird migration junction and where great conservation efforts are being undertaken,” said H.E. Al Mansouri from the Abu Dhabi side.
“In our drive to foster greater global dialogue and cooperation on conservation we are honoured to share IFHC’s years of scientific research and excellence in the field with our fellow committed conservationists in Israel.
“Our organisations will immediately begin working together to identify, assess, document, and present potential projects. We anticipate our collaboration delivering a significant boost to the conservation of rare and threatened bird species within Israel and to the international bank of scientific conservation knowledge.”
Israel is home to resident Asian Houbara mainly observed in the Negev desert. The agreement will involve field studies and research aimed at preserving the Houbara population and its habitat in the region.
Such studies will include monitoring wild populations to assess survival, dispersal, and breeding success.
IFHC will continue leading efforts to rebalance wild Houbara populations across the range countries through its successful breeding and release programme that has so far bred more than 553,119 Houbara and released 375,383 plus birds into the wild since inception.
Israel has done enormous things for bird conservation as well. Start with Prof. Yossi Leshem to read about his work conserving owls, kestrels and migratory birds. Some Muslim groups consider owls to be cursed and are often killed in countries like Jordan. A lack of conservation efforts and overwintering ponds in Israel and the region mean migrating birds from Africa to Europe won’t make their journey safely.
Let’s hope the Emirates and Israel bird loving team can also help Cyprus. Locals there kill millions of migrating birds to pickle them in a dish. It’s called ambelopoulia.