Meet the organisations working to protect the UAE's wildlife
Living in Abu Dhabi’s urban environment, it’s easy to forget about the local wildlife that share the land with us, but, sadly, many are currently under threat of extinction. Here are just some of the organisations in the UAE doing amazing work to conserve these creatures – all appreciate support in the form of donations and volunteering so if you like the sound of their work, why not contact them and get involved?
Environment Agency Abu Dhabi Since it was established in 1996, the Environment Agency has been working for environmental protection, sustainable development and wildlife conservation in Abu Dhabi. The agency is supporting ARKive global initiative in creating audio-visual records called ‘The Jewels of the UAE’, which aims to spread awareness of endangered species in the region and their habitats. The EA’s greatest success story so far is having brought the Arabian Oryx back from the brink of extinction through protection programmes – reintroducing many back into their natural environment. It is also responsible for having set up the award-winning Abu Dhabi Falcon hospital, which cares for more than 4,2000 creatures every year. www.ead.ae
Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife This Sharjah-based centre has been operating under the Environment and Protected Areas Authority for more than a decade. The facility conserves endangered wildlife, and is also undertaking research into the mammals, reptiles, freshwater fish, amphibians and invertebrates that currently inhabit the Arabian Peninsula. BCEAW is not open to the public, but the other facilities at Sharjah Desert Park – the Sharjah Natural History Museum and Children’s Farm and Arabia Wildlife centre – welcome visitors. www.breedingcentresharjah.com
Emirates Wildlife Society Emirates Wildlife Society, in association with the World Wide Fund, creates protected areas to preserve the UAE’s impressive biodiversity. One of the organisation’s most high-profile projects is a three-year programme to conserve marine hawksbill turtles. Anyone wanting to support the cause can purchase an ‘adopt a turtle’ pack, the proceeds of which will be used to further the project. EWS-WWF also offers numerous other opportunities for the public to participate in their work, such as the ‘fish finder’ initiative, where volunteers can help the society raise awareness about the dangers of overfishing in the UAE. www.uae.panda.org
Emirates Natural History group The Emirates Natural History Group focuses on the UAE’s natural history and archeology, and also records the sightings of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, flora, and insects. The organisation maintains a database of birds that contains more than 20,000 species of common and rare species spotted by the group’s birdwatchers in the region. The group has branches in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai that observe and record data about local wildlife. Anyone interested in getting involved can register themselves as members or volunteers at the agency and participate in the regular meetings. Schedules and further details can be found on their website. www.enhg.org
Emirates Bird Records Committee The Emirates Bird Records Committee (EBRC) has established a website for birders and other wildlife fans to log their sightings in the UAE. Photographs and descriptions of birds, mammals, amphibians, insects, scorpions, and aquatic wildlife that have been spotted in the Emirates can be posted and discussed by forum members. It’s a great place to share thoughts and experiences. www.uaebirding.com