Conservation of the Houbara Bustard – Paul Goriup


Please note – all our indoor meetings now start at 7.30 pm.

We will be meeting in person in Room 109 in the Palmer Building at usual, but you can also join remotely via Zoom if you prefer.  Please click here to join the meeting. You can join from 7.15 pm and the meeting will start at 7.30 pm.  You will be muted when you join; please stay muted except when you have been asked to unmute, for recent sightings, questions, etc.

The Asian Houbara is a species of bustard that has a largely migratory population moving between breeding grounds in Central Asia and wintering areas in the Middle East. The bird has been the traditional quarry for falconers who hunt it in winter for sport and also for consumption. However, since the 1960s the intensity of hunting has increased hugely as a result of the growing oil-based wealth of falconers so that hunting now takes place across the entire wintering range (principally Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and the Arabian peninsula). From the early 1990s, conservation organisations have been calling for an international agreement under the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species to put in place conservation measures that can assure the survival of the Houbara. This talk will trace the history of this initiative and the reasons why it has still not been achieved.
Paul is a Chartered Ecologist and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (UK). He holds a joint honours degree (BSc) in Botany and Zoology (Reading), and an MSc in Conservation Science (University College London). He has more than 40 years experience in nature conservation, working in government, international NGOs and the private sector. From 1982 to 1986 he directed the global conservation programme of ICBP – now BirdLife International. He is an invited member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (serving as Chairman of the Bustard Specialist Group for 18 years) and the World Commission on Protected Areas. In 1986, Paul founded and remains the managing director of NatureBureau, a company based in Newbury that carries out ecological research, planning and management projects as well as being one of the UK’s leading publishers of wildlife books under its Pisces brand. Paul is also a Trustee of the Great Bustard Group that has successfully reintroduced the great bustard to Wiltshire.