The IFHC takes conservation educational outreach model to Kazakhstan

January 31, 2023

  This marks the first overseas destination following the success of the Emirati edition of the competition; with support from the UAE Embassy and local officials The Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre-Kazakhstan hosts award ceremony to honor Creative Short Story Competition winners, which featured distinguished participation and interaction from students and teachers in Shayan, Kazakhstan

Based on a decision by the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) Board of Directors to expand the educational conservation program to countries where the Fund operates its overseas centers, the IFHC launched its first pilot creative short story competition for rural school children in Shayan, Kazakhstan, where the Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre – Kazakhstan is located. The competition is designed to encourage the youth to love nature and become conservationists, while boosting IFHCs relation with the local community; an effort that aligns with the Funds objective to provide socio-economic support to the countries where it operates. The key theme of the competition, “Challenges and Solutions in Biodiversity Conservation”, was highlighted in 40 creative illustrated short stories about endangered native species, from participants of the various surrounding schools. 15 stories were shortlisted and published in a book in Kazakh and Russian. Organized by the Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre in Kazakhstan (SKHBC-KZ), the prestigious ceremony was attended by key Kazakh officials and VIPs from the Shayan region, with active participation from Reneco International Wildlife Consultants’ employees, and the full support from the United Arab Emirates embassy in Astana, which provided all facilities to the work team. Following a welcome speech from IFHC Director General and teachers from participating schools, awards were delivered on a background of traditional music and pre-recorded short interviews with the winners. The event concluded with a small concert featuring local folk bands. Commenting on the unique event, Mohammed Saleh Hasan Al Baidani, Director General at the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), said: “Outreach and communication are integral to our work. Educating the youth about protecting nature and wildlife species is key to ensuring the future of our global environment. After successfully working with schools in the UAE over the past few years, we are now bringing our educational outreach program to Kazakhstan. We were delighted with the overwhelming response from students who enthusiastically took part in the short story competition and carried out extensive research to identify endangered native species. The different characters featured in their stories included the red wolf, the snow leopard, the saiga antelope, the argali mountain sheep and of course the bustard, an emblematic species in both our countries. This event was highly successful and garnered positive feedback from both teachers and students. We are encouraged to know that our future youth generation is eager to support our work, and we hope that some will become advocates for nature protection and conservation of heritage and wildlife in the future.” The IFHC delegation, led by the Director General, included Ms. Hamda Al Ameri from the Education Department; Mr. Ali Al Shamsi and Ms. Olga Tanasevych, Comms Specialist at the IFHC. Mr. Mohammed Saleh Al Baidani, IFHC Director General, expressed his thanks to the UAE Embassy in Kazakhstan, and to local officials who attended the ceremony, along with school principals, teachers, participating students, Reneco International Wildlife Consultants’ management, and all those who contributed to the success of the ceremony. About the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC): The International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) is an extension of the initiative of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, which aims to conserve the vulnerable houbara bustard - an emblematic species in Arabian culture. Based on this vision, an integrated global conservation strategy was developed and then implemented over the past forty years with the objective of ensuring a sustainable future for the Houbara through effective and appropriate protection programs and management plans. Since 1995, the strategy adopted a comprehensive approach, combining ecological research, preservation measures, captive breeding and release programs to reinforce bird populations in the wild. The IFHC was established in 2006 to advance the implementation and development of this program by managing international centers and securing partnerships throughout Houbara habitat that encourage sustainable practices to preserve the species. For more information, visit IFHC’s official website:

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