Management of a conservation breeding project (ex-situ conservation)
The ECWP has gradually set up a Houbara conservation breeding program, which is based on reproduction in captivity of “founding individuals” representative of the species’ genetic diversity. This founding population was created by culling wild eggs into the ECWP’s intervention zone in agreement with the Moroccan government. The ECWP adopted artificial reproduction methods — collection of semen, insemination of females, incubation of eggs and raising of young — to ensure better control of genetic and production management.
Two categories of birds were raised: those intended to renew the stock of captive breeders and those intended for release in the wild for reinforcement operations. Special programs were developed to help the former to reproduce in captivity and to actively prepare the latter for life in the wild so that they can breed and contribute to the population’s natural regeneration.