Arabian red fox spotted on marina walk in Abu Dhabi

Fox sightings on Reem Island were common before construction boom

This series of images was shared on a Reem Island community Facebook group
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An Arabian red fox was seen prowling along a promenade on Reem Island in Abu Dhabi.

The sighting was near Marina Bay one evening, to the delight of onlookers.

Pictures were shared online from residents of Reem Island last week. Some showed the fox staring directly at the photographer.

A spokeswoman from the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi said Arabian Red foxes have become an urban species and are seen all over Abu Dhabi city.

“They have adapted to living off human [rubbish] and can often be seen near large dustbins in the city eating waste food scraps,” she said.

“People should observe them from a safe distance and should try to avoid feeding or getting too close to them.

“They generally avoid people but in some cases may become familiar being close to humans and will not run when approached.

Reem Island fox 2015 sighting: in pictures

“As they are very common in the city and urban areas, there is no need panic but just keep your distance.”

Residents of the capital are no stranger to seeing wildlife in urban areas. Whale sharks are often spotted swimming in the marinas and close to shore, and before heavy construction started on Reem Island several years ago, fox sightings were a common occurrence.

But since the number of buildings on the island has increased, residents said the number of fox sightings in the area has fallen.

“Foxes were very common on Reem Island seven or eight years ago,” one resident wrote on a community Facebook group.

“We would see the cats disappear by the day. [The foxes] would also come in the night to eat out of the bins.”

“I was one of the first 40 families to live on Reem Island 11 years ago,” another said.

“I used to run in the early morning and I was able to see at least five desert foxes every day.

“I haven’t seen one in [about] two years.”

The two main fox species in Abu Dhabi are the very common Arabian red fox, which is recognisable by the white tip on its long tail, and the very rare Ruppell’s Fox, which is distinguishable by its large ears, bushier tails and shorter snout and legs.

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Updated: June 26, 2022, 6:39 AM