After twenty years, the ECWP has proven its ability, to conciliate saving an endangered species with maintaining a cultural heritage, thereby helping to improve knowledge about ecosystems and contributing to their preservation.
The project for the restoration and conservation of a natural population of houbara bustards has achieved significant, positive results in Eastern Morocco. The coordination and regulation of falconry practiced in the areas managed for that purpose and protected to let the bustards live in security are gradually making this activity compatible with maintaining a viable population in the long term. But the project’s impact goes far beyond the species’ preservation. The ECWP has brought about the emergence of a veritable culture of sustainable development in this part of the world by guaranteeing a balance between interests — customs, traditions, sustainable management of the environment and socio-economic development — that have often been considered contradictory or opposed to each other.
The ECWP project is a genuine integrated project contributing to the region’s socio-economic development by the sustainable management of a natural resource, in this case the houbara bustard.
Today the goal is to promote the ECWP’s experience so that other areas of the houbara bustard’s range, as well as other species, can benefit from the same approach. In every part of the world, some natural resources, fauna or flora, can also be enhanced by taking the requirements of sustainable use into account, as long as people are interested in them. These species are a source of economic diversification as well as the guarantee that major ecological balances will be maintained. Sustainable use of wild species causes less disruption of ecosystems and loss of biological diversity than the transformation of natural spaces into pastures or farmland. Wildlife protection can therefore make a significant contribution to the fight against desertification in regions with fragile ecosystems. The ECWP project is a precious, successful example of that.