1,700 houbara bustards released in Cholistan desert

Published October 13, 2020
The third batch of highly rare bird species, houbara bustard, which were bred in captivity in a Gulf state, were released in the Cholistan desert. — Dawn/File
The third batch of highly rare bird species, houbara bustard, which were bred in captivity in a Gulf state, were released in the Cholistan desert. — Dawn/File

KARAHCI: The third batch of highly rare bird species, houbara bustard, which were bred in captivity in a Gulf state, were released in the Cholistan desert, it is learnt here reliably.

According to sources, the rare birds were bred and raised by the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), Abu Dhabi, in captivity and were released in the southern Punjab desert jointly by the IFHC and a local non-governmental organisation, Houbara Foundation International Pakistan.

HFIP chief retired Brig Mukhtar said that these 1,700 birds, which had been bred and raised by the IFHC at its facility in the United Arab Emirates, were brought in by the IFHC’s representative Philippe Gerard Martial, on board a special flight and were quarantined, checked and certified fit by animal health departments.

He said that prior to bringing in these rare species birds here, proper documentation, including export/import permits under the CITES — Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Flora and Fauna — had been completed in the UAE as well as in Pakistan.

He said that the 1,700 birds were in addition to 500 and 1,000 IFHC’s captive bred houbaras that were released in Cholistan in March and September, respectively, earlier this year.

Mr Mukhtar said that the HFIP has been collaborating with the Pakistan Army for over past couple of decades for aerial broadcast of seeds of desert vegetation to restore the habitat in Cholistan.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2020

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