The UAE will host Expo 2020!
  • Arabic
Supported by the UAE National Media Council
We are in the process of developing and improving our website, and we invite you to participate in our brief survey to measure the level of your satisfaction
Satisfaction Survey For UAE Interact Website
رغبة منا بالتعرف على مستوى رضاكم عن موقعنا وبهدف تطويره وتحسينه، فقد قمنا بتصميم استبيان سريع لقياس مدى الرضا عن موقع دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة روعي في تصميم الاستبيان أن يكون قصيرا وسريعا كي لا نطيل عليكم، وعليه نرجو منكم التكرم باستكماله عن طريق الرابط التالي
استبيان رضا المتعاملين عن موقع دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة

Khor Kalba conservation efforts bear fruits

posted on 23/02/2014: 3236 views



Amidst the rugged Hajar Mountains on the east coast of the UAE lies an oasis that oozes with life of various forms. Chirping and tweeting birds, mangrove trees and the serene blue water welcome you as you enter a unique ecosystem that is known as Khor Kalba.

Once a popular picnic spot, the five square kilometre green belt is now closed to the public, allowing conservation efforts to take root.

In 2012 the site of Al Gorm and Al Hafiye, as it is official called, was declared a protected area through a resolution by His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

In March 2013, the site was added to the Ramsar list, as a wetland of international importance.

"It has been known for long as an important bird area because of the habitat, but due to continuous neglect and misuse by people visitors, the area was in really bad shape. But timely intervention has helped attract new species to the area and revive the local species,” said Ahmad Al Ali, director of Protected Areas at Sharjah's Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), which is looking after the conservation efforts.

Home to the oldest natural mangrove forest in the region and several avian and marine species that are unique to the site, the area is a nature-lover's delight.

John Pereira, a researcher who is leading the conservation efforts at Khor Khalba, said: "The park is home to around 320 species and among the species unique to the area are the Arabian-Collard Kingfisher, the French-toad lizard, the Blandford's lizard and the Mudcreeper among others. Since the conservation efforts began, we have seen a significant increase the population of the local species as well as a great influx of migratory birds.”

The precious gem is surrounded by a varied habitat, including sand dunes, an acacia forest, salt mudflats, mountains, mangroves as well as the wetland and the sea.

Before the site was closed, the area was extensively used by holidaymakers, fishermen, leaving the wildlife cornered and severely depleted.

"Since the closure of the area to the public, we have banned fishing and crab harvesting here as well as all other human activities, which has allowed the nature to come back to life again. Now we have started species' logging, research, surveying, camera trapping and extensive monitoring, which will allow us to conserve critically endangered species like Arabian-collared Kingfisher,” added Pereira.

One of the benefits of conservation efforts can be seen in the form of mudcreepers who were once depleted and are now back in abundance.

Pereira feels the area needs to remain closed for a few more years before people can be allowed to visit through guided tours.

"We are definitely interested in getting people back. Most importantly, we need to involve the local people and make them aware of the delicate ecosystem and how important it is for the region. We are trying to educate them about the importance of mangroves and the birds of the region,” he said.

Kalba Birds of Prey Centre

As part of its conservation and educational efforts, Sharjah's Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) has built a new centre for birds of prey, which was recently inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

The centre, located in Al Gheil area of Kalba houses 38 species of birds 14 of them are local species.

The centre hosts daily bird shows to educate schoolchildren and the local population about the various local species and their importance to the natural ecosystem.

Apart from creating awareness, the central idea of the centre is to initiate research and conservation efforts for the critically endangered species.

Some of the birds are the Bonelli's Eagle, the Egyptian Vulture, the Barbary Falcon, and the owl.

"Our idea is to involve local population in knowing about local birds and their behaviour, their habitat, food etc. We are also working on conserving some of the birds like ospreys and the Arabian-collared kingfisher. We will start research work next year with Nottingham Trent University on vultures,” said Gerard W. Tedd, operations director at the Kalba Birds of Prey Centre.

With an entry fee of Dh50 for adults and free entry for children below the age of 12, Kalba Birds of Prey Centre is open to the public all week except Tuesdays. Visiting hours from Sunday to Thursday: 9.00am–6pm, Friday: 2pm–6pm, Saturday: 11am–6pm. – Gulf News – Read more: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/environment/khor-kalba-conservation-efforts-bear-fruits-1.1294436

RELATED ARTICLES

28 May 2017 Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah conducts 456 inspection visits in Q1 2017
10 May 2017 UAE celebrates International Migratory Bird Day
02 February 2017 UAE keen to preserve, develop wetlands, says Minister of Climate Change and Environment
30 January 2017 Sharjah International Conservation Forum to discuss dangers faced by species of vulture, develop Red List for Arabia's trees
16 January 2017 EWS-WWF to expand collaboration on its 100% Renewable Energy Vision for the UAE - 2050 project


Most Read