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Wed 18 Apr 2018 01:52 PM

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Etihad Cargo flies vulnerable birds for release across world

Airline and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation team up to transport shipment of more than 100 Houbara bustards

Etihad Cargo flies vulnerable birds for release across world

Etihad Cargo and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) have teamed up to transport a shipment of more than 100 vulnerable Houbara bustards for release into their natural habitats.

In the past three years, the partnership between the two organisations has led to the successful relocation and integration into the wild of more than 3,000 Houbara across the world.

The venture, which is part of the Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Reintroduction Programme, began in 2014, when the two organisations signed a partnership agreement.

In 2017 alone, more than 2,000 birds were transported safely to countries in Asia and North Africa, which have more hospitable environments, thereby increasing the birds’ long-term survival.

The Houbara are bred in centres in Abu Dhabi managed by IFHC and then released into their natural habitat in countries across the world.

Justin Carr, vice president of Etihad Cargo, said: “It is an honour to be able to safely transport the Houbara to countries where they can thrive, and play a small part in Abu Dhabi’s project of restoring this iconic species in the wild. Etihad Cargo has a strong record of safely transporting animals around the world – be it returning vulnerable or endangered species to their natural habitat or reuniting pets with their families.”

Mohammed Saleh Al Baidani, director-general of IFHC, said: “The range of the Houbara stretches from Morocco to Mongolia, so it is critical that we are able to move the birds from Abu Dhabi to countries across the species’ range safely and securely. Etihad Cargo has proved itself in terms of destinations and security, and together we are helping restore the iconic Houbara to countries where it has been in historic decline.”

Abu Dhabi’s Houbara programme was initiated over 40 years ago by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE.

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