Houbara Chicks Hatched in Cholistan

Houbara Chicks Hatched in Cholistan

A Breakthrough in Release of Captive-bred Birds

For several years Houbara Foundation International Pakistan and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) Abu Dhabi have been collaborating to release thousands of captive-bred houbara in the Cholistan Desert to augment the population of wild houbara in Pakistan’s habitats.

Having been initiated by the UAE’s founding father Sheikh Zayed, in 1976, the Houbara project, celebrated several key milestones in the UAE in preserving the houbara bustard. In 1982, the first houbara chick was hatched in captivity strengthening the breeding and release programme of IFHC.

In 1995 Houbara Foundation International Pakistan was established to bring an end to an increasingly serious decline in the populations of houbara occurring in Pakistan; this species being the flagship species indicating the health of the desert. The Foundation worked in cooperation with IFHC Abu Dhabi in line with a strategy to provide a sustainable future for this species and thereby a stable biological diversity.

Thousands of captive-bred houbara were released in the Cholistan Desert over the years. Since the birds are of the blood-line of Pakistan’s resident houbara population in Nag Valley (Balochistan), it was hoped that most of the birds will settle there for breeding and reinforce the resident houbara bustard population. Some birds may even stay and breed in the Cholistan Desert if the temperature and food are to their liking.

Interestingly, some birds have chosen to stay and breed in the Cholistan Desert. Consequently, several nests of houbara were located during this year’s spring season with clutches of eggs ready to be hatched, culminating in hatching of chicks in the wild. Our survey teams photographed female houbaras brooding on the eggs and also fluffy chicks broken free from egg shells, bringing the success story of Houbara Foundation International Pakistan and IFHC Abu Dhabi to view.

This success story will be reinforced when these wild born juveniles survive in their natural habitat.

A female houbara tagged with transmitter is hatching her eggs in the wild
A female houbara tagged with transmitter is hatching her eggs in the wild
Pipped eggs ready for hatching of chicks
Pipped eggs ready for hatching of chicks
Fresh brood of houbara chicks
Fresh brood of houbara chicks

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