UAE committed to preserving Pakistan’s vulnerable houbara bustard — envoy

Falconers check a hunting falcon after it caught a houbara bustard flying at Al-Marzoom Hunting reserve, 150kms west of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on February 2, 2016. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2019

UAE committed to preserving Pakistan’s vulnerable houbara bustard — envoy

  • Sheikh Zayed initiated Abu Dhabi’s Houbara conservation program in 1970s, over 400,000 houbara bred since
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature says the houbara has a global population ranging from 50,000 to 100,000

ISLAMABAD: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has long been committed to preserving the environment and wildlife and has worked with the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) to release hundreds of houbara bustards in the last five years, Hamad Obaid Al-Zaabi, the Ambassador of the UAE to Pakistan, said. 
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the houbara bustard, a rare bird whose meat is prized by Arab sheikhs, as a vulnerable species with a global population ranging from 50,000 to 100,000. It has almost vanished on the Arabian peninsula.

The International Houbara Conservation Fund is a not-for-profit organization that operates with the support of the Government of Abu Dhabi and is one of the largest species conservation projects in the world.

“UAE is doing a lot of efforts to release houbara bustards as this is the vision of Emirates leadership that saving the environment and such endangered birds is really important for the future,” Al Zaabi said.
He said several projects to breed the bird had been launched in Abu Dhabi over the last 40 years, and “achieved outstanding results by breeding over 400,000 houbara till 2018.”
Sheikh Zayed initiated Abu Dhabi’s Houbara conservation program in the 1970s. In 1977, with a few donated birds, work began at the Al Ain zoo to develop a greater understanding of the habitat and behavior of the animal. In 1982, the first captive-bred houbara chick was hatched in the UAE, signaling the start of a major conservation program. In 2006, the IFHC was established to manage the full scope of the program’s operations.
According to data released by IFHC on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Abu Dhabi’s houbara program, over 56,000 houbara bustards have been produced across breeding centers every year and thousands of captive-bred birds released to help sustain existing wild populations.


Pakistani victims in fatal Madinah bus crash identified, says foreign office

Updated 13 min 40 sec ago

Pakistani victims in fatal Madinah bus crash identified, says foreign office

  • Bodies of 10 Pakistani nationals recognized through DNA samples gathered by Saudi authorities
  • Charred remains of the deceased Pakistani pilgrims buried in the Kingdom

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Thursday that the DNA verification process for all of the country’s pilgrims killed in last month’s fatal road crash while they were traveling from Riyadh to Makkah was done and their bodies had been buried in Saudi Arabia.
“Ten Pakistanis have been identified” after a rigorous process of trying to ascertain identities through “DNA matching,” the foreign office spokesman, Dr. Muhammed Faisal, told Arab News.
Explaining the hardships involved in the process, he said: “The bus driver who had a list also died and the passengers’ record was burnt.”
Investigators “traced a copy of the passengers’ list” from the relevant bus company which helped collect the data on the number of passengers, including all Pakistanis onboard, “but they were still unable to identify the corpses and required families of the deceased to help identify the victims.”
The foreign office has not revealed the identities of the Pakistanis until now, though it says “details will soon be released.”
It may be recalled that the bus caught fire after the accident and the charred bodies of passengers were found to be beyond recognition.
A team of Pakistani officials with the help of Saudi authorities worked tirelessly to identify all the victims, collecting DNA samples of the deceased pilgrims to ascertain their exact identifies.
“None of the bodies of the Pakistani victims were brought back to the country. It’s likely that all of them were buried there [in Saudi Arabia],” the spokesman said.