Around 800 types of plants, 48 land mammals, 440 bird species, 72 reptiles and amphibians, and more than 5,000 invertebrates in the UAE are at risk of extinction.
Ahmed Al Hashimi, director of the ministry of environment and water’s biodiversity department, said a leading cause was loss of habitat because of urban sprawl, pollution, climate change, unsustainable hunting, deforestation and overgrazing.
Mr Al Hashimi told Al Ittihad, the Arabic language sister paper of The National, that the UAE has come long way in protecting habitats and preserving biodiversity by passing a number of laws and regulations. These include federal Law No (24) of 1999 on the protection of the environment, which includes a list of endangered species nationwide, and Federal Law No (11) of 2002 on the regulation and control of international trade in threatened animals and plants, and Federal No (16) of 2007 regarding animal welfare and animals in captivity.
Mr Al Hashimi noted that the MoEW has also issued ministerial decisions regarding regulation of fishing with the aim of preserving fisheries and preventing the extinction of important species, particularly bottom fish that are in constant decrease.
The ministry will also issue a ministerial decision regarding the protection of plant types and is studying a draft federal law regarding access to plant genetic resources.