You thought camel was UAE's national animal... It's not!

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on August 4, 2015 | Last updated on August 4, 2015 at 09.32 pm
You thought camel was UAEs national animal... Its not!

Over 1, 200 respondents of the poll assume that national animal is the camel, whereas only a little over 550 people correctly answered that the national animal is the Arabian Oryx.

'What is the national animal of UAE?' Khaleej Times asked Emirati national Ali Salim. After thinking for a while, Salim doubtfully asked: "Isn't it the camel?" When this reporter told him it's not, he remarked unbelievingly: "It's not the camel. are you sure. do you know the answer?"

The national animal of the UAE is the Arabian Oryx, not the camel. The camel is the national animal of Saudi Arabia. However, a majority of the residents living in the country are unaware of what its national animal is, according to data collected from a public poll on

Over 1,200 respondents of the poll assume that national animal is the camel, whereas only a little over 550 people correctly answered that the national animal is the Arabian Oryx.

Other options on the poll were the Sand Gazelle, the Arabian Tahr, and the Arabian leopard. The sand gazelle earned the third highest rating with 116 people stating that it is the national animal. When Salim was shown the picture of the Oryx, he was quick to recognize it and stated: "Ahh. I've seen these in Abu Dhabi. They live in the mountains. In Arabic it is called Al Maha."

The same question was posted on social media channels, and most respondents and comments ranged from camel, falcon, sand gazelle, and the Arabian camel. A picture of the Oryx is also printed on the Dh50 currency notes.

Residents like Abdul Hameed, an Indian national who has been living in UAE for 20 years, suggested that for people to learn more about the Oryx, it needs to be given more predominance in UAE landmarks.

He said: "It's hard to tell because camels and horses are the more predominantly featured here in the UAE. I've never seen an Oryx."

Except for school-going children and young adults who have learned it in school, most of the adult respondents that Khaleej Times spoke to said that they've never heard of the Arabian Oryx. Anna Lisa, an Indian national and student based in Dubai said: "I've lived here for 20 years and I had no clue that this is the national animal."

However, Daniel Cardozo, a 14-year-old student who also happened to be the only person who got the answer right said: "I've learned this in school and it's general knowledge."

Daniel's younger brother Delano said: "The national bird is falcon. The national animal is camel." Indian national Deviani Rao said that she was born and raised in Dubai. "I had no idea. It's on a Dhs 50 note? (laughs). This is new information and I am glad I've learned about it." Kamal Usman, a Sudanese national said: "I've never heard of this animal. Where can I find it?"

Iraqi resident and long-term resident of Dubai Bahjat Taha said: "It's not the camel? I've always assumed it is the camel. This is new information for me."


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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