First EWS report highlights achievements

DUBAI — After five years of conservation work in the UAE, described as a ‘daunting task’ amid rapid developments, the Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS) has released its first annual report.

By Zoe Sinclair

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Published: Sun 29 Jul 2007, 8:38 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:22 AM

The annual report for 2006 also carried a financial statement showing that more than Dh1,600,000 had been spent on EWS causes, slightly more than the Dh1,500,000 operating income.

The EWS was formed in 2001 in association with the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).

The society’s Chairman, Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, looks back at the past five years with satisfaction over the task accomplished with cooperation of all sectors in the UAE.

“Working together with local agencies, raising and investing resources for a better environment was what EWS-WWF set out to do in 2001. I am pleased to say this is being realised,” Al Bowardi stated in the report.

The EWS has worked on numerous projects, including “Establishment of a Mountain Protected Area in Wadi Wurayah” and recently “Conservation of the Ghaf Tree.”

Wadi Wurayah has been identified as the only permanent, natural source of fresh water in the country and harbours many mammal and bird species of international concern, according to the report.

Studies carried out in the area found seven species of insects new to science along with a unique orchid endemic to the region.

The EWS has also raised support for the native Ghaf tree recently and has been calling for it to be designated as the UAE’s national tree.

Promoted as a symbol of sustainable development and cultural identity, the Ghaf tree is a hardy desert plant vital for the survival of many species in the desert, but threatened by over-grazing and urbanisation.

In the report, EWS Managing Director Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak recognises that the UAE’s current trend of development and use of natural resources is ecologically unsustainable.

“Places of natural beauty in the country are being forgotten, if not destroyed, and many endemic species are threatened with extinction,” she said.

She, however, says the UAE is expected to play a bigger role in implementing global environmental conventions.

“We need to continue working on our conservation strategy by developing scientifically sound and effective projects, increasing the capacity of local institutions, raising public awareness both formally and informally, and providing environmental policy recommendations on international and local issues,” Al Mubarak said.

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