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Bird Day celebrated with release of houbara bustards

Abu Dhabi: The UAE released 1,292 Asian houbara bustards into the wild in the country during the 2011-2012 season, the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) announced on Sunday.

The announcement coincided with Wild Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) which was celebrated worldwide on Sunday, said a press release issued by the fund.

The number of birds released in the UAE builds on the progress made in recent years to restore sustainable wild populations of the endangered bird to the country.

This year's number brings the total number of houbara released in the UAE to over 4,400 since the first bird was released in 2004.

Mohammad Saleh Al Baidani, director-general IFHC, said: "It has been another very successful year for IFHC in breeding the houbara and then releasing them into the wild. IFHC is delivering the strategy of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa for restoring houbara numbers both here in the UAE and around the world.

"The success of the project in the UAE means that we have had to expand the number of sites where we can safely release the houbara. Our global future target is to breed and release up to 50,000 houbara (Asian and North African) every year across the species range, which stretches from Morocco in the west to Mongolia in the east," he said.

"It is fitting that we make this announcement on World Migratory Bird Day," he added.

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