Ras Al Khaimah: Shaikh Mohammad Bin Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, witnessed the release of 48 captive-bred houbara bustards at the Banyan Tree Al Wadi on Friday.

Shaikh Mohammad released the first bird, which is fitted with a satellite transmitter, as part of the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Houbara Reintroduction Project in the UAE and Arabian Peninsula to restore a sustainable wild population of a bird synonymous with local culture and traditions in the UAE.

The move also underscores the determination by His Highness Shaikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, to focus on environmental issues.

The release of the bird was carried out by the Ras Al Khaimah Environmental Protection and Development Authority (EPDA-RAK) in collaboration with the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC).

Dr Saif Mohammad Al Ghais, Executive Director of EPDA-RAK, said the omnivorous bird, which feeds on seeds, insects and other small creatures, is considered an icon of Arabia deserts and is widely prized as a quarry for falconers.

The houbara bustard is found in south Asia, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, North Africa (Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco) and parts of western Europe.