In pictures: Endangered birds in UAE released into the wild
Dozens of rare and endangered exotic birds have been released into the wild as part of an ambitious conservation project.
Dr Raza Khan, a wildlife specialist for zoo management at Dubai Municipality, holds on to the first greater flamingo before its release. "“Dubai is the first zoo anywhere in the world to successfully keep and breed Socotra Cormorants and it is also the first 4.5 acre sized zoo to breed flamingos," he said.
The birds were breed from captivity at Dubai Zoo and experts hope they will mix with the existing wild population and eventually make their way to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.
The birds will now be kept under observation for the next seven days to make sure they are settling in to their new surroundings.
Up to 3,500 flamingos live at the wildlife reserve at Ras Al Khor sanctuary during during winter. Around half migrate to Iran and Armenia during the summer months, with about 1,500 staying all year round.
Work on breeding the Greater Flamingo began in 2006 in Dubai Zoo’s small aviary, which is the first enclosure visitors see when they enter the zoo.
Dr Mohammed Wazed, the zoo’s vet, said the breeding programme was a tricky operation.
“One of the issue we faced was of overcrowding,” he said. “We had to make sure that they are given fresh food and where they live is hygienic and so doesn’t attract any diseases.”
Dozens of rare and endangered exotic birds have been released into the wild as part of an ambitious conservation project at Dubai Zoo. Photos by Razan Alzayani / The National