UAE conservation initiative sees 100 ibex released in Jordan

JORDAN // About 100 ibex have been released into the wild at the Wadi Rum nature reserve in southern Jordan as part of a UAE-led project to help save the animal from extinction.

The initiative to protect the ibex, a large mountain goat found in rugged areas of Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, and Sudan, was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.

A herd of 60 to 100 of the hardy desert animals, known for their curled horns, was released during a special ceremony at Wadi Rum inaugurated by Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, the executive director of the terrestrial and marine biodiversity sector at the EAD, and Abdullah Al Kaabi, representative of the Crown Prince’s Court.

Jordan was represented by Suleiman Njadat, the director of the environment authority in Aqaba province.

Dr Al Dhaheri said the project was part of Sheikh Mohammed’s initiative to preserve the environment and natural diversity of the region, and to protect animals in danger of extinction.

The project, she said, also aimed to raise awareness of the ibex’s importance to the community living close to the reserve in order to prevent poaching or over-hunting of the animals.

Mr Njadat said the project to resettle ibex, which can weigh around 50 kilograms, in the area will make it attractive to tourists. Wadi Rum’s cultural and environmental status is protected as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Ibex numbers have been decreasing in Jordan since the 1920s, with the once common animals confined to mountainous areas near the Dead Sea and the Wadi Rum valley in the country’s south-east region.

The EAD is leading the way in protecting the ibex by supporting conservation projects in countries around the region.

Published: October 22, 2015 04:00 AM