ABU DHABI // The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi is assessing genetic threats to sand gazelle and other animals.
The agency said the project is the first of its kind and involved the assessment of samples from 54,000 antelopes and sand gazelles in 34 agency-protected wildlife reserves around the UAE.
The concern is that crossbreeding among the antelope species could lead to genetic variations that make the species susceptible to diseases or other genetically-determined risks.
“Ead has focused on studying and assessing the genetic status of the sand gazelle population due to the fact that this species constitutes the largest percentage of the total animal populations in Abu Dhabi forests – 70 per cent – on the one hand, and due to the importance of this species in the natural heritage of the UAE on the other,” said Razan Al Mubarak, secretary-general of the agency.
The project, which started two years ago, will now move on to assess other animals such as mountain gazelles and the Arabian oryx.