27 December 2021

Experts from International Fund for Houbara Conservation Visit Kalmykia

A group of scientists from the International Fund for Houbara Conservation visited Russia’s Republic of Kalmykia to conduct a detailed study of the terrain and climate. The visit aimed to determine whether the territory of Kalmykia is suitable for the habitation of bustards and the construction of a breeding centre for them in the region. The bird is listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species as well as the Red Data Books of Countries the Bustard Habitat.

Russia and the United Arab Emirates are also systematically working together to reintroduce (restore) hunting breed birds. One of the landmark projects in this regard is the construction of an international centre for the reintroduction and conservation of rare species of birds of prey, which is designed to produce and raise 1,000 gyrfalcons each year. In December 2021, the Kamchatka Falcon Centre announced the completion of the first stage of construction of the falcon centre. The centre is a pilot project for a rare bird population restoration programme, and will include a nursery, aviaries for young birds, and an ornithological centre. The project is part of the Kamchatka Advanced Special Economic Zone. Fund RC-Investments, the Roscongress Foundation’s investment platform, is a co-investor.

“Centres for the reintroduction and conservation of falcons and bustards are being built based on instructions from the Russian president. Pilot projects will be implemented in the Kamchatka Territory and the Republic of Kalmykia. The project to build a falcon centre in the Kamchatka Advanced Special Economic Zone was first presented at the 5th Eastern Economic Forum in 2019. To date, the first stage of construction has been completed, and the first 100 birds will be delivered to the centre in the near future,” Advisor to the Russian President Anton Kobyakov said.

The International Fund for Houbara Conservation is the world leader in the protection of the Houbara bustard. The conservation programme for this bird species is supported by the government of Abu Dhabi. At present, there are four bustard breeding nurseries in the world: in Morocco, Kazakhstan, and two nurseries in Abu Dhabi. A fifth centre may be built in the Republic of Kalmykia.

“The work to conserve rare animals is being carried out as part of the National Ecology Project of the Federal Programme to Conserve and Increase Biological Diversity and is being implemented by a department of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Republic of Kalmykia. The chlamydotis, or ‘Houbara’ in Arabic, is on the verge of extinction. It is on the Red List. Our colleagues from the United Arab Emirates are doing enormous work to preserve this unique species. Over the 20 years that the International Fund for Houbara Conservation has been working, more than 400,000 birds have been released into the wild. We are certainly ready to support these activities that aim to preserve the species and increase the bustard population in the wild,” Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Republic of Kalmykia Ochir Dzhambinov said.