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Abstract

During the last two decades Chlamydotis undulata (houbara bustard) has declined drastically throughout its range, due primarily to over-hunting and severe habitat degradation. The threatened extinction of local populations led the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development of Saudi Arabia to implement ex- and in-situ conservation measures: (1) a captive breeding program initiated in 1986, which achieved production of a self-sustaining breeding flock as well as a surplus for reintroduction by 1992; (2) establishment of a 13,775-km2 protected area around the last known breeding population in Saudi Arabia; (3) studies of wild birds, to determine densities, feeding ecology, and habitat requirements; and (4) studies on different release techniques (adult releases, sub-adult releases, feather-cut sub-adult releases, and covey releases), carried out since 1991 within the 2,300-km2 fenced and protected area of the Mahazat as-Sayd reserve.