The International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) hosted a special conservation outreach workshop on the crucial importance of veterinary science in wildlife conservation for students at the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) University, featuring leading veterinary experts and specialists working with IFHC. Students were delighted with an interactive presentation, followed by a lecture on environmental science and field research, and a panel discussion on the crucial contribution of veterinarians to conservation biology. The workshop was moderated by leading veterinarians, an Emirati field researcher and a falconer, who shared their traditional experience about wildlife with students.
The workshop coincided with the launch of the latest edition of the educational outreach program for universities and higher education institutions (HEIs) organized by the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) and was highly acclaimed by participating professors and students. Also present was Mohammed Saleh Hasan Al Baidani, IFHC Director General and several Fund’s employees, who were given, along with university students, an in-depth overview of the importance of protecting species and their populations, and the diligent efforts exerted over more than 45 years to preserve and protect the Houbara bustard in the United Arab Emirates.
Prof. Arve Lee Willingham, Chair, Department of Veterinary Medicine, at the UAE University expressed his delight at the participation of students from the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine in the workshop. He noted that such cultural events are a great opportunity to acquaint students with the different ways they can contribute to community service and will encourage them to pursue their passion for veterinary science.
Student Abdulrahman Fahd Amer noted that the Houbara Conservation Project resonated greatly with him, and that he takes pride in this achievement by the UAE to protect this vulnerable species, an emblematic species in the heritage of the UAE. He indicated that the workshop gave him a clear insight on what his future career will be; and expressed his eagerness to join the professional team working at the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC).
Foreign student Hanifa Awol expressed her delight to take part in field operations, learn from experts and participate in the ongoing discussions on the subject. She noted that she enjoyed the opportunity to leverage the knowledge and wisdom of IFHC staff during the panel discussion, particularly during the Q&A session, which allowed her to obtain valuable guidance from veterans who worked for years in this field.
Ayed Al-Ahbabi, the Emirati falconer, told students that veterinary medicine is a vital, noble profession that plays a fundamental role in the future of the country and its citizens. He also noted that if he could go back in time, he would have chosen to specialize in veterinary medicine, because of its utmost importance in conservation efforts.
Towards the end of the workshop, participants expressed their delight with the workshop, which provided them with fun and useful information. They also called for volunteering opportunities within the IFHC to allow students to gain more knowledge and experience.