His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has presented 200 houbara bustards to the first three winners in the Sixth Qatar International Falcons and Hunting Festival 2015 as part of HH's efforts to preserve the indigenous heritage in the Gulf region and to encourage efforts aimed at breeding the houbara and protecting it from extinction.
The first, second and third winners will walk away home with 100, 60 and 40 birds respectively.
H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, handed out Sheikh Mohamed's prize to the winners during the award-giving ceremony staged at Katara, the Cultural Village Foundation, in Qatar.
Sheikh Saif said,' The generous initiative of Sheikh Mohamed has underpinned the constant care and support of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the environment and heritage. It also reflected the UAE's encouragement of practices and sports associated with the Gulf identity and culture and of traditional sports amateurs to pursue their efforts towards conservation of the local heritage.' Sheikh Saif added that houbara breeding, presenting it as a valuable award to winners in various local and regional heritage events and encouraging Gulf young generations to care for it were part of the UAE's national cultural and human strategy, which was based on the far-sighted vision and unprecedented environmental initiatives by the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, which is being cherished today by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The annual international competition, deeply rooted in Qatar's culture and traditions, showcases some of the most beautiful and well-trained falcons.
Sheikh Mohamed's gift were sourced from the National Avian Research Centre (NARC) in Sweihan, Abu Dhabi. The UAE has launched a massive houbara captive breeding and releasing programme to increase the population of the bird.
Researchers monitor the movements of birds fitted with satellite tracking and devices.