Wildlife in RAK is put under the microscope for protect

The three-year project began in September and aims to categorise, analyse and protect the wildlife of Ras Al Khaimah.
Dr Brigitte Howarth, entomologist, left, Dr Anne-Lise Chaber, centre, and a volunteer erect an insect catching net in Ras Al Khaimah for the Wildlife Project. The three-year study is currently looking for volunteers. Courtesy Xavier Eichaker / Wildlife Consultant
Dr Brigitte Howarth, entomologist, left, Dr Anne-Lise Chaber, centre, and a volunteer erect an insect catching net in Ras Al Khaimah for the Wildlife Project. The three-year study is currently looking for volunteers. Courtesy Xavier Eichaker / Wildlife Consultant

RAS AL KHAIMAH // Animal conservationists and student volunteers have begun a three-year project to categorise, analyse and protect the wildlife of Ras Al Khaimah.

Through field studies lasting up to four days deep into the emirate’s mountainous areas, the team involved in the RAK Wildlife Project is currently collecting biological baseline surveys.

Dr Anne-Lise Chaber, head of the Wildlife Project, said that the inspiration behind the initiative was RAK’s unique and pristine nature and that even the preliminary process was exciting.

“Previously we didn’t have any data in RAK about what animals are living there, so any finding is extremely interesting and we are the first ones to do it,” she said.

“We want to know what is out there, because that’s the first step towards protecting it.”

The expected outcome and results of the research is first aiming to create a biodiversity survey so that members of the community can get a better understanding of RAK’s ecosystem.

The second goal is to raise public awareness and education through animal fact sheets that will be distributed to organisations and universities to provide detailed information on the animals found, population numbers and their status.

Work began on the project in September and will continue through the winter. Team members plan to analyse their data from the fieldwork in April.

The trips are being organised in three categories: small mammals; big mammals; and insects.

“Our aim is to enrol local students to work on the projects. Right now we have two students working with us and we hope to have more,” said Dr Chaber.

“We want them to be the specialists of the projects in the future.”

One of the students, Maryam Al Haddad, 22, a Zayed University senior studying environmental sciences, got involved in the project through trips organised by her university.

“We’ve been going out on field trips with the university and one course sparked my interest about the subject,” Ms Al Haddad said. “When I was offered the opportunity by the Wildlife Project I wanted to do it because I find animal conservation very important.”

Ms Al Haddad’s travels have taken her out to a wadi to study insects with the group. Despite her favourite animals being horses, it was not until she began inspecting creatures under a microscope that her interest was sparked.

“Looking closely, it fascinates you on the wildlife in the emirates; insects can make you look beyond when you are looking at them under the microscope, it’s just fascinating.”

She said that more nationals needed to get involved because this is their natural heritage, an important part of the landscape that is the UAE.

“It’s important because life needs to go on. All animals are important to the ecosystem and the continuation of life,” she said.

Wildlife Consultant is managing the project in collaboration with other research organisations, including Zayed University. The project is being funded by RAK Bank.

Volunteers interested in participating can send an email to info@wildlifeconsultant.org.

nalwasmi@thenational.ae

Published: December 7, 2014 04:00 AM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one