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THE COUNTRY & THE ENVIRONMENT - WILDLIFE

Sharjah makes strides in preserving bio-diversity

Posted on 22/05/2005

As the world observes International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, the Desert Park in Sharjah celebrates a decade of experience in providing infotainment-- education in an entertaining way--for the vast numbers of tourists that pass through its environs. Situated about 28kilometres on a stretch of desert away from the city, the Desert Park displays the verdant change from sandy desert to a considerably wide patch of greenery. "Where biological diversity is concerned, this park ...  >>MORE

Zayed was the first to declare houbara birds as endangered species: Hamdan bin Zayed

Posted on 17/05/2005

The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the first to sound the alarm bell and declare houbara birds as endangered species three decades ago, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs has said. In an editorial note in Al Saqqar Magazine, a specialized publication featuring falconry and other related issues, Sheikh Hamdan who is also Chairman of the UAE Falconers' Club recalled that Sheikh Zayed painted a graphic picture as to ...  >>MORE

Book offers a peek at breeding birds of UAE

Posted on 12/04/2005

A book documenting more than 140 species of UAE birds with colourful illustrations has been published. The 240-page resource, titled Breeding Birds of the United Arab Emirates, in Arabic and English, is compiled and published by the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) with the support from Dolphin Energy, Total and Occidental Petroleum. The accounts in the book deal with past and present native breeding species in the UAE along with the newly introduced species. ...  >>MORE

Dubai Zoo hosting a rare specimen of Arabian-spotted Eagle Owl

Posted on 29/03/2005

Dubai Zoo is hosting a rare specimen of the Arabian-spotted Eagle Owl, believed to be the first such owl found in the UAE and northern Oman, it was announced today. Dr Mohammed Ali Reza Khan, Head of Zoo Section at Dubai Municipality's Public Parks and Horticulture Department, said this species is an Arabian version of the well-known African Spotted Eagle Owl. 'The owl was gifted to Dubai Zoo before two years by a donor from Dibba. He said he caught it from Dibba mountains. As it was a baby ...  >>MORE

They come in flocks to Ras Al Khor

Posted on 26/03/2005

Birds of many a feather flock together at Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuary. More than one per cent of the global bird population including grey heron, black-headed gull or broad-billed sandpiper gather at the sanctuary created in 1985. "Flamingos are the flagship species of the sanctuary. Around 1,000 of these birds come here. The highest recorded number is 2,500 flamingos," said Mohammad Abdul Rahman Hassan, head of marine environment and sanctuaries unit at the environment protection and ...  >>MORE

NARC succeeds in off-season captive breeding of houbara

Posted on 17/03/2005

The National Avian Research Centre (NARC) in Suweihan near Al Ain, which is part of the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA), has surpassed all challenges and achieved new techniques in breeding the Asiatic Houbara Bustard. By manipulating environmental conditions in captivity, birds can now be stimulated to breed before the start of the natural breeding season. The houbara bustard is the main quarry in the traditional sport of falconry, an integral part of UAE's ...  >>MORE

From Oslo to Ghantut and back - for a bird!

Posted on 12/03/2005

Visitors come from around the world to the Emirates for all kinds of reasons, to do business, to visit friends and family, to shop, or just to have a holiday. Norwegian Bruce Hansen, though, has probably set a new record for UAE tourism - he flew down here last week, all the way from Oslo, just to see a rare bird at Ghantut's 'Golden Tulip' Hotel, rushed around to see a few more, and then flew all the way back again. The bird was a Dusky Thrush, a member of the thrush family that breeds in ...  >>MORE

ERWDA rescues and rehabilitates barnacle-infested sea turtles

Posted on 09/03/2005

Pushing forward with its commitment to the conservation and management of the Emirate's marine environment, the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) recently rescued a young and weak Hawksbill turtle infested with barnacles, treated it and then, without delay, released it back into the sea. The turtle's parasites were removed from the infected areas with care and the turtle was held in a nursery tank for more observations. Once it was ensured that the turtle had ...  >>MORE

New authority set up for Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium

Posted on 02/03/2005

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a new law setting up a general authority for Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium. The authority will be a corporate body with independent financial and administrative powers According to Law No 1 of 2005, the new authority will be headquartered in Al Ain and its board can set up branches or offices inside or outside the country. The authority is established to create a tourist attraction area for local and foreign wildlife and marine ...  >>MORE

Watchtowers at Ras Al Khor Sanctuary opened to public

Posted on 01/03/2005

The newly-built watchtowers for bird lovers at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary was officially opened to public yesterday by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Department. Qassim Sultan, Director General of Dubai Municipality, dignitaries, senior government officials and environment organisations attended the ceremony. Built by Dubai Municipality, the opening of the three watchtowers at the sanctuary was awaited by regular tourists to the emirate, ...  >>MORE

Eagle owls nursed back to health and released

Posted on 01/03/2005

The Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) has released two juvenile Eagle Owls back into the wild after it came to their rescue almost a year ago. ERWDA's Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital helped both birds recover fully and is now confident that they can continue on to live a strong and healthy life. The UAE's breeding population is estimated to be around 25-50 pairs and Eagle Owls are listed as a priority species for conservation. The birds were admitted to the hospital ...  >>MORE

Ras Al Khor sanctuary to boost ecotourism

Posted on 28/02/2005

The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary at the end of Dubai Creek opens today as part of the municipality's plan to promote ecotourism. Three watchtowers equipped with high-tech facilities for birdwatchers have been built on the 6.2-square-km site. More than 88 species of birds have been spotted in the sanctuary and an estimated 313 species of wild fauna and flora have been reported. More than 25,000 birds can be seen in the area in January. The density of waders in the sanctuary comes to 21 ...  >>MORE

Taming the houbara to keep it alive

Posted on 23/02/2005

Five aviaries at the National Avian Research Centre in Abu Dhabi work to breed the falcon's favourite prey in a controlled environment. We get a quiet, cold reception at the white, barn-shaped aviary. You would not believe that it is located in the middle of the open desert near Sweihan, Abu Dhabi - the temperature is a numbing 7 degrees Celsius. And you would not believe that the freezing temperature, the special lighting and the near-deathly silence all combine to keep alive a species ...  >>MORE

Houbara findings

Posted on 23/02/2005

Why the houbara is on a decline * Poaching in countries where the houbara breeds or migrates. It is illegal to import the houbara into the UAE to trade in them. * Unsustainable hunting: Falconers have extended their hunting grounds to Central Asian countries, which are core breeding grounds for migrant Asian houbara. What needs to be done * Limit hunting: Hunting should be limited to the traditional winter hunting period from mid-October to the end of February. * Establish ...  >>MORE

UAE sees boom in ostrich breeding

Posted on 19/02/2005

The UAE is seeing a boom in ostrich breeding with a large number of farms being set up in Al Sad area of Al Ain. "Ostrich breeding here is not new. The Arabian peninsula was once home to a large number of ostrich which adapted to the region's harsh conditions before its extinction half a century ago,” Sameeh Mohammed Saleem, an engineer who runs a farm in Al Ain said. Ostriches are bred for their cholesterol-free meat, eggs and feathers. The first ostrich farm was set up in 1977 in Al Ain ...  >>MORE

300 species of birds flock together on the East Coast

Posted on 02/02/2005

More than 300 species of birds, 70 per cent of all birds in the UAE, live along the East Coast, according to a book published recently. It says 420 species of birds have been seen in the UAE, 321 of which live in Fujairah and other areas along the East Coast. Fujairah's mountains and valleys have lured hundreds of birds. Yellow-vented bulbuls, house buntings, purple sunbirds and Indian silverbills as well as migrating birds flock here. The coastline is home to reef herons, shorebirds and ...  >>MORE

New species of saw scaled viper in UAE, northern Oman

Posted on 17/01/2005

Recent studies by Gergely Babocsay on museum specimens from across the entire range of 'Echis coloratus' vipers has revealed that the specimens from northern Oman and the UAE mountains are distinctive in their scalation, colour pattern and body proportions from all other populations. As such, they have now been described as belonging to a new species, the Oman sawscaled viper Echis omanensis Babocsay 2004, according to a report in the new edition of Tribulus, the Journal of the Emirates Natural ...  >>MORE

Call for new zoo intensifies as number of visitors grows

Posted on 12/01/2005

Demand for a new zoo has escalated as Dubai Zoo has recorded phenomenal growth in the number of visitors. The zoo received more than 400,000 visitors last year, the highest since it was opened 13 years ago, according to Dr Reza Khan, head of the Zoo Section at Dubai Municipality. This is nearly 40,000 more visitors than the previous year. The zoo has witnessed a 53 per cent increase in the number of visitors over the past 13 years. It received slightly more than 260,000 visitors in 1992. Not ...  >>MORE

Remote sensing to help conserve Al Sammaliah wildlife sanctuary

Posted on 29/12/2004

Conservationists are using the latest satellite technology to protect the environment at Al Sammaliah Island, an important wildlife sanctuary of Abu Dhabi. The aim of the project is to develop an information facility, using the Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote-sensing technology. To do this, wildlife analysts have teamed up with UAE University and the Emirates Heritage Club under an agreement signed this year by Dr Hadef Bin Jouan Al Daheri, Vice-Chancellor of the university, ...  >>MORE

Floating barrier on Creek replaced to keep wildlife safe at Ras Al Khor

Posted on 22/12/2004

An anti-pollution boom in Dubai Creek has been replaced to keep wildlife safe at the Ras Al Khor nature reserve, a municipality spokesman said. The boom was less than 15 years old but needed to be replaced, civic engineers said. Khalid Mohammad Al Zahed, head of the Coastal Management Section at Dubai Municipality, said a precast concrete wall up to the inter-tidal range has just been completed and replaces floating units and New Jersey Barriers. Ras Al Khor natural wildlife sanctuary is ...  >>MORE

Recreating a wild world in the desert

Posted on 11/12/2004

Sharjah There are three main aspects that attract visitors to the Arabian Wildlife Centre in Sharjah. The first is a tour that confines the visitors rather than the animals, which appear to roam free in a safe environment. The second is a large indoor facility that turns day into night, giving people a glimpse of nocturnal animals that they would rarely see. The third is a centre that has a breeding programme that is respected around the world. Along Dhaid on Sharjah Airport Road is where ...  >>MORE

Wildlife specialists to study ways to boost conservation

Posted on 07/12/2004

Abu Dhabi will be the first city in the Middle East to host the Wildlife Disease Association's conference, which focuses on wildlife and conservation issues. The third annual meeting of the Wildlife Disease Association (WDA), Africa and Middle East section, is being held at the Abu Dhabi Beach Rotana Hotel next week. The event is being sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre. A cross-section of experts in wildlife health and conservation are coming to the UAE for the three-day event, ...  >>MORE

Non-indigenous birds 'damaging local eco-system'

Posted on 23/11/2004

Large numbers of non-indigenous birds, such as the superb starling, are invading the UAE and damaging the local ecosystem. Dr Reza Khan, head of Dubai Zoo, is concerned over the increasing number of alien birds spotted in the UAE, largely as a result of the trade in foreign species. "There are beautiful birds sold on the local market, but as they escape they damage the local flora and fauna. The birds have created small colonies around the American University of Sharjah campus ... they are ...  >>MORE

An effort to bring down the fences

Posted on 22/11/2004

Wildlife conservation is no longer a trend. The cause has grown up from being misused as a fashionable pastime of divas and bohemian wannabes to achieving its well-deserved status of being featured on many a country's priority list. With the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, listing more than 30,000 species of flora and fauna as endangered, any effort at preservation, breeding and conservation merits public mention. Last week, the Dubai Desert Conservation ...  >>MORE

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary will open to visitors in January

Posted on 20/11/2004

The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is set to receive visitors as part of the municipality's plan to promote ecotourism. Construction of at least three watchtowers at the sanctuary has been completed. "The sanctuary will open to visitors in January," said Redha Hassan Salman, head of environment protection and safety at the municipality. He said the towers would be fully equipped with modern facilities for birdwatchers and other visitors and would open before the Dubai Shopping Festival. ...  >>MORE

Flamingos return to sanctuary

Posted on 18/11/2004

With the country well into the rather delayed winter, and following the recent thunderstorm, the population of birds, both resident and migratory, is going up. One of the best places to witness this phenomenon in Dubai is the Ras Al Khor Sanctuary, where the flocks of flamingos find plenty of food — part of which is supplied by humans. "They are back in good numbers this season, and the arrivals have only just begun. It will pick up now and soon we will have a huge population of not just ...  >>MORE

Lazing around…

Posted on 18/11/2004

Oryxes enjoy their newfound freedom in the desert after an Al Ain resort released over 30 of them into a larger conservation area. (The Gulf News) ...  >>MORE

Scimitar Oryx is born at zoo

Posted on 16/11/2004

The Dubai Zoo was blessed last week with a baby Scimitar Oryx, an animal listed as extinct in the wild, Dr Reza Khan, Head of the Zoo Section at the Public Parks and Horticulture Department of the municipality, told "Khaleej Times.” This is the thirtieth Scimitar Oryx born at the zoo as a result of its captive breeding programme since 1992. The creature, which is found in the region of Sub-Sahara and North African border of Sahara desert, is listed as being extinct in the wild, and its ...  >>MORE

Rare migratory bird spotted on Al Ain-Dubai highway

Posted on 11/11/2004

A rare white stork has been spotted on the Al Ain-Dubai highway. "I saw the stork perched on a lamp-post near Al Faqa at about 5pm on Sunday," said Dr Reza Khan, Head of Dubai Zoo. "I watched it for a few minutes and then without wasting anymore time, took a few shots with my digital camera. "This is possibly the first record of this stork along the Al Ain-Dubai Highway," Dr Khan said. The first official sighting of white stork in the UAE was in September 1984, when about 300 birds landed at ...  >>MORE

Cormorant variants breed eight chicks

Posted on 01/11/2004

Dubai Zoo has reported the first successful breeding of the Socotra Cormorant. Eight chicks have been raised, said Mohammad Ali Reza Khan, head of the zoo. The zoo started breeding with 11 pairs of this bird indigenous to the Gulf region and today there are 30 at the zoo, he said. "As far as we can figure out, Dubai Zoo is the first institution anywhere in the world to have achieved captive breeding of the Socotra Cormorant. This species started breeding in Dubai Zoo in 1994. "We have ...  >>MORE

Future perfect; The Middle East's first national park

Posted on 23/10/2004

The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) covers five per cent of Dubai. It occupies a 225-square-kilometre corner of desert on the border with Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, enclosed by a three-metre-high steel fence and protected by a special Ruler's decree passed in February. According to its provisions, this fragile ecology is now safe, for all time, from the abuses of random development, overgrazing and excessive off-road driving that destroyed its habitat and seemed destined to leave a ...  >>MORE

ERWDA signs agreement on houbara bustard with Yemen

Posted on 20/10/2004

In accordance with the directions of the President, H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to breed more houbara in the next ten years, in coordination with the region's states, the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources of the Republic of Yemen signed yesterday an agreement for the captive propagation and re-introduction of houbara bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii) originating from Yemen. Majid Ali Al Mansouri, ...  >>MORE

Flamingo dance

Posted on 09/10/2004

As summer gives way to autumn, a flock of flamingoes gather at Al Aweer in Dubai. Coastal wildlife santuaries in areas like Al Khawaneej and Al Aweer have been designed for the protection of the oryx, gazelle, wildcat and various species of birds. (The Gulf News) ...  >>MORE

New civic lab to employ biotechnology in breeding

Posted on 15/09/2004

The sex of a newborn calf will no longer come as a surprise to UAE farmers thanks to a state-of-the-art veterinary laboratory that uses biotechnology to determine the sex, a municipality official said. The municipal department of animal welfare opened the laboratory, which will introduce the modern biotechnology techniques. "The UAE is the first country in the region to have such a facility," a spokesman from the municipality's public relations department, according to the "Gulf News.” "Now ...  >>MORE

Houbara breeding at Suweihan centre hits record 223 birds

Posted on 06/09/2004

The number of captive-bred houbara bustard reached 223 at the end of this year's final breeding season at the National Avian Research Centre (NARC) of the Environmental Research and Wild-life Development Agency (ERWDA). According to a press release the centre, located in Suweihan, has experienced a boom in the hatching of houbara chicks. The number of chicks this year reached 223 compared to 121 last year and 49 in 2002. "The centre is expecting a boom over the years to come as a result of ...  >>MORE

Dubai Zoo celebrates birth of endangered simian species

Posted on 04/09/2004

Vets have scored a success with the birth of a rare monkey at Dubai Zoo. A female Dent's Monkey is the latest in a list of nearly a dozen new arrivals at the zoo this summer. Visitors have the treat of seeing the mother taking care of her three-day-old baby, holding her close to her chest at all times, feeding her and not allowing any of the zoo staff to touch her. Dent's Monkey, also known as Dent's Mona, is a colourful tree-dwelling mammal that lives in the riverine forests of ...  >>MORE

Dubai Zoo witnesses baby boom

Posted on 24/08/2004

A dozen newborn animals are causing a stir at Dubai Zoo, including a rare Nubian ibex and a pair of Barbary sheep. The baby boom points to a happy summer for both the zoo staff and visitors, who are keen to get a look at the new babies. More young animals are also on the way as a giraffe is pregnant, and so is a Dents monkey, a rare breed from the forests of central Africa. "The monkey is due to deliver the baby in a week's time, while the giraffe is expected to deliver after seven months," ...  >>MORE

ERWDA spares no efforts for conservation of houbara

Posted on 19/06/2004

The Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency, ERWDA, took large steps during the year 2003 in breeding houbara in captivity and has been a leader in breeding them outside their natural habitat and in designing artificial environment houses simulating the natural habitat of the houbara with the control of the temperature, lights, humidity and night-day succession. The Agency's mission includes promoting bustards, falcons and bird conservation and reconciling traditions of Arab ...  >>MORE

DNA to help ID gender of newborn houbara, falcon

Posted on 30/05/2004

The Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) has developed a new DNA-based method for sexing of houbara bustards and falcons. The DNA based gender identification of newly hatched houbara bustards and falcons have been one of the most important achievements of the genetic facility, according to a report. The annual ERWDA report said during 2003, a simple, rapid and inexpensive DNA preparation method for sexing houbara bustard using multiplex PCR (polymerase chain reaction) ...  >>MORE

Dubai Zoo gets a pair of rare jungle cats from Damascus

Posted on 04/05/2004

A pair of rare jungle cats and a pair of porcupine have been given as a gift to Dubai Zoo by the managers of Damascus Zoo. It is the latest in a series of gifts Damascus Zoo has granted to Dubai, according to municipality officials, who enjoy a healthy relationship with their counterparts in the Syrian capital. The jungle cat's colouring varies from a sandy-yellow through a dark sandy-brown to a tawny red, with black varieties in some areas of the habitat. In Syria it is called the Euphrates ...  >>MORE

Rare gazelle released into the wild

Posted on 19/04/2004

In line with the directives of H.H President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a total of 300 rare Chinkara gazelles were released here today into the wild. Considered as the smallest of Asiatic antelope, the rare Chinkaras were previously donated by President Sheikh Zayed to a game reserve near the Punjabi city of RahimyarKhan for the purposes of breeding before being ultimately released to their natural habitat. The release of the animals was supervised by Ali Mohammed Al Shamsi, UAE ...  >>MORE

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Quick List

Sharjah makes strides in preserving bio-diversity


Zayed was the first to declare houbara birds as endangered species: Hamdan bin Zayed


Book offers a peek at breeding birds of UAE


Dubai Zoo hosting a rare specimen of Arabian-spotted Eagle Owl


They come in flocks to Ras Al Khor


NARC succeeds in off-season captive breeding of houbara


From Oslo to Ghantut and back - for a bird!


ERWDA rescues and rehabilitates barnacle-infested sea turtles


New authority set up for Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium


Watchtowers at Ras Al Khor Sanctuary opened to public


Eagle owls nursed back to health and released


Ras Al Khor sanctuary to boost ecotourism


Taming the houbara to keep it alive


Houbara findings


UAE sees boom in ostrich breeding


300 species of birds flock together on the East Coast


New species of saw scaled viper in UAE, northern Oman


Call for new zoo intensifies as number of visitors grows


Remote sensing to help conserve Al Sammaliah wildlife sanctuary


Floating barrier on Creek replaced to keep wildlife safe at Ras Al Khor


Recreating a wild world in the desert


Wildlife specialists to study ways to boost conservation


Non-indigenous birds 'damaging local eco-system'


An effort to bring down the fences


Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary will open to visitors in January


Flamingos return to sanctuary


Lazing around…


Scimitar Oryx is born at zoo


Rare migratory bird spotted on Al Ain-Dubai highway


Cormorant variants breed eight chicks


Future perfect; The Middle East's first national park


ERWDA signs agreement on houbara bustard with Yemen


Flamingo dance


New civic lab to employ biotechnology in breeding


Houbara breeding at Suweihan centre hits record 223 birds


Dubai Zoo celebrates birth of endangered simian species


Dubai Zoo witnesses baby boom


ERWDA spares no efforts for conservation of houbara


DNA to help ID gender of newborn houbara, falcon


Dubai Zoo gets a pair of rare jungle cats from Damascus


Rare gazelle released into the wild