Etihad Cargo and the Int’l Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC)
The bird consignment
Etihad Cargo and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), one of the world’s leading conservation programmes, recently transported a large shipment of vulnerable Houbara bustards for release into their natural habitats.
In 2017, more than 2,000 birds were transported safely to countries in Asia and North Africa. The Houbara are bred in centres in Abu Dhabi managed by IFHC and then released into their natural habitat in countries across the world. “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.” -Mohammed Saleh Al Baidani, Director-General of IFHC. Abu Dhabi’s Houbara programme was initiated over 40 years ago by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
In the past three years, the partnership between the two organisations – Etihad Cargo and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) – has led to the successful relocation and integration into the wild of more than 3,000 Houbara across the world. This particular shipment done recently transported 100 Houbara for release into their natural habitat.
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, 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. IFHC has developed protocols based on ground breaking ecology on the breeding and release of the Houbara, and every release site is studied to ensure the birds have the optimal chance of survival.
Justin Carr, Vice President of Etihad Cargo, said, “Our motto is ‘From Abu Dhabi to the world’ and it is literally the case with our partnership with IFHC. 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.”
Commenting on the partnership, 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.”
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, to restore sustainable wild populations of the species to the areas of the world where they were under threat of extinction. In that time, it has developed into the world’s leading Houbara conservation programme. Etihad Cargo receives the Houbara at the Live Animals facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The climate in the aircraft hold is adjusted to the ideal level to ensure the birds’ comfort during the flight. As is standard when transporting live animals, the Houbara are the last to be loaded onto the aircraft and the first to be offloaded.
In 2016, Etihad Airways signed the Buckingham Palace Declaration, as a demonstration of support for the prevention of trade in illegal wildlife. The UAE is signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the airline provides the necessary support to help ensure that wildlife controlled under CITES is not carried unless the necessary paperwork is in order. While the transport of Houbara is usually prohibited under CITES, permission is granted on this occasion in support of an official conservation programme.
Houbara Release Jordan 2018 – An Houbara bustard, which was bred in Abu Dhabi, is released into the wild in Jordan.
Cargo 777 – Etihad Cargo and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) have worked together to safely relocate more than 3,000 Houbara bustards to their natural habitat.
Year of Zayed
Etihad Aviation Group’s initiatives for the Year of Zayed are based on the four themes, which are wisdom, respect, sustainability, and human development. The company’s initiatives are:
1) Humanitarian freighter
2) Zayed A380 & Abu Dhabi Experience
3) Abu Dhabi Birdathon
4) Zayed Campus and Young Aviators
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, said, “More than half a century ago, Sheikh Zayed envisioned Abu Dhabi having a world class aviation industry and infrastructure that is on par with the major cities of the world.”
Under the theme of respect, Etihad Airways will launch a specially branded freighter aircraft which will conduct humanitarian flights for charitable organisations throughout 2018. The first humanitarian freighter mission will take off in May. Etihad Airways will partner with Emirates Red Crescent, Khalifa Foundation, and His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Humanitarian and Scientific Foundation to conduct these philanthropic missions across the globe.
To celebrate this vision and wisdom amongst the global audience, guests travelling on a specific A380 Etihad Airways aircraft will enjoy a host of content and services inspired by the late Sheikh Zayed, including themed inflight entertainment, kids packs and a photo gallery of his life.
Another exciting initiative will be the launch of an Abu Dhabi cultural experience. During the course of 2018, Etihad Airways will fly-in 1,000 guests from around the world to experience the capital’s vibrant culture scene, including visits to the Founder’s Memorial, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Wahat al Karama, and Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Combining the themes of flying and sustainability, Etihad Airways and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) will host the Abu Dhabi Birdathon, a community event featuring the flamingos.
Several tagged flamingos, each one nominated to an Abu Dhabi partner entity, will be tracked online as they fly off during the breeding season at the end of the year. This initiative aims to drive awareness of environmental conservation, which the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was passionate about.
The final component of Etihad’s Year of Zayed campaign, focusing on human development, has two elements. Etihad will dedicate its training facility buildings to Sheikh Zayed. The Etihad Training Academy building adjacent to the Corporate Headquarters will be renamed Zayed Campus – Abu Dhabi, and the Etihad Aviation Training facility in Al Ain will become Zayed Campus – Al Ain.
In addition, Etihad will launch the Young Aviators programme for school children in the UAE. This initiative, which aims to inspire children, will involve guided tours of the Etihad headquarters and Training Academy in Abu Dhabi, including sessions in the full flight simulators.
(Left to right): Mohammad Al Bulooki, Executive Vice President Commercial, Etihad Airways; Peter Baumgartner, Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways; Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group; Abdul Khaliq Saeed, Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways Engineering; Khaled Al Mehairbi, Senior Vice President Abu Dhabi Airport, and General Manager of Etihad Airport Ground Services; Abdulla Shadid, Managing Director, Cargo and Logistics, Etihad Airways.