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Wildlife

Reintroduction
 The houbara bustard Chlamydotis [undulata] macqueenii is a traditional game bird found acros the entire Arabian Peninsula. However, its population has decreased drastically during recent decades. Recent human developments in the region, particulary new hunting tevhniques and a tremendous increase in livestock, have been responsible for the decline. In Saudi arabia, only a small population was still surviving in the 80's, in Harrat al-Harrah in the north of the country. The SWA has undertaken an ambitious programme.​​ ​​
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he programme focuses on the protection of exixting habitats and reintroduction of captive-bred birds. Responsibility for restoring houbara bustards as a breeding species was given to the NWRC near Taif in 1986. with the production in 1992 of a self-sustaining captive houbara flock and the provisionof an annual surplus of houbara chicks, attention has shifted to the release of caotive-dred houbara into protected ares. Reintroduction began in 1991 in the 2,244 sq. km fenced Mahazat as-Sayd protected area. All released houbaras were fitted with solar powered radio-transmitters. Several experimental release techniques were conducted in order to improve post-release survival. Survival rate was as high as 71% of birds one year after the release of January 1999. these dirds, 8 to 10 months old, were released about 15 days after the first important rainfall of winter 98-99 to coincide with recovery of food availability ( vegetation and insects' abundance ), and probably also benefited by the rabies' epidemic which affected the red foxes ( Vulpes vulpes ) population in 1998.

At the beginning of 2000, 314 birds have been reintroduced and the population presumaby add up to 100 individuals, including 61 houbaras regularly checked by radiotracking, and several birds with failed transmitters or wild born. Indeed, breeding has been recorded each year since 1995, with breeding success varying according to environmental conditions. Thirty-nine houbaras have been released on 7 february 2000 and 72 more are due to release in the next month, by following the same protocol as in 1999. 
​​The program of reintroduction of houbara bustard is on the right track to establish a self-sustaining population in Mahazat as-Sayd. Such experience could now be expand to more protected areas in the Kingdom.​

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Viewed 330 time. | Last Update 14/10/2019
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