Fujairah wadi added to Unesco World Heritage Site tentative list

Wadi Wurayah is home to at least 860 different species of plants and animals

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The UAE’s first mountain nature reserve, Fujairah’s Wadi Wurayah National Park, has been added to the Unesco World Heritage Site tentative list, state news agency Wam reported on Thursday.

Wadi Wurayah is an area of huge natural significance and is home to at least 860 different species of plants and animals, including the caracal, Arabian tahr, Blanford’s fox and the UAE’s only native orchid.

The park, which spans 220 square kilometres and was first declared a nature reserve in 2009, is also famous for its scenic waterfall, streams and pools set amid the Hajar Mountains.

It has also been recognised since 2010 as an important wetland under the Ramsar Convention.

“I am delighted that the first steps have now been taken for recognition of Wadi Wurayah as a World Heritage Site,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah.

"Under directives of HH Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, the Fujairah Government has given all types of support to the Wadi Wurayah National Park.

“With the only permanent waterfall in the UAE and with a population of endangered plants and animals, it is a unique part of the country’s biodiversity and a key element of our environmental protection programme,” he said.

"On this occasion I am also pleased to announce the launch of the Wadi Wurayah new official identity and brand. Aesthetically resonating with the ancient and rich heritage of the Wadi, this will serve the vision of becoming an iconic world heritage site as well as its newly developed purpose to educate people about the unique characteristics of the wadi and its conservation," he said.

The addition of the park brings the number of UAE sites on the tentative list to 13. Others include Ras Al Khaimah's Al Jazirah Al Hamra pearling village and the Shimal tombs.

The only Unesco World Heritage Sites in the UAE are in Abu Dhabi at Al Ain.

Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, said the announcement was testament to the efforts of the UAE to preserve its heritage.

“I commend the efforts of the Fujairah Environment Authority and other Fujairah institutions in working to preserve and protect Wadi Wurayah, a key part of the country’s biodiversity,” said Ms Al Kaabi.

A detailed explanation of the park’s environment and biodiversity will now be prepared for evaluation by Unesco's scientific teams.

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Updated: March 25, 2022, 4:34 AM