Conservation of the UAE’s natural habitat and the animals that dwell here is a key area of focus for the nation.
It’s with this in mind that the Mohamed bin Zayed Arabian Oryx Reintroduction Programme recently released 14 female Arabian oryx into the wild in the Qasr Al Sarab Protected Area, located 250km south of the city.
The programme, led by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), has seen the species, which a few decades ago was on the verge of extinction, flourish in the deserts of Abu Dhabi.
The newly released females will now roam freely in the 304 square kilometre conservation area and join 5,000 Arabian oryx that live outside of captivity in Abu Dhabi.
The programme, which has run for over a decade, has seen the species down-listed from endangered to vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and has continued the breeding programme initiated by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in the 1960s.
HE Noura Al Kaabi, minister of culture and knowledge development, said: “The Arabian oryx is not only important environmentally to the region, but also culturally.
“It held high value during past civilisations on the Arabian Peninsula and has featured prominently in Arab literature, art and poetry.
“It was revered not just for its physical beauty but for its ability to adapt very well to the desert environment , as well for its strength and courage.
“It’s a moment of pride for the whole nation to see the late Sheikh Zayed’s aspirations for the Arabian oryx become reality.”
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