Wadi Wurayah National Park set to undergo baseline vegetation study to help conserve area’s natural biodiversity
press release can be downloaded here.
Project conducted in joint partnership between HSBC Middle East, Fujairah Municipality and EWS-WWF
Dubai, UAE, 20 June 2012:
Wadi Wurayah National Park in the emirate of Fujairah, the UAE’s first mountain protected area, is set to undergo a baseline vegetation survey to help further preserve the area’s natural biodiversity. The study will be undertaken by Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF (EWS-WWF), Fujairah Municipality and is generously sponsored by long-term partner HSBC Bank Middle East Limited.
The study will uncover key information regarding the wadi’s natural growing trees, map and assess the current vegetation and help EWS-WWF and Fujairah Municipality better understand the value of the vegetation for the species living in the area. Aided by HSBC volunteers, the team will put in place measures to protecting tree saplings.
Ammar Shams, Regional Head of Corporate Sustainability in UAE for HSBC Bank Middle East commented: “Preserving biodiversity is a fundamental cornerstone of HSBC's Sustainability agenda globally, and we are very committed to supporting EWS-WWF in working towards a better understanding of the UAE's natural biodiversity. We are also very supportive of initiatives that allow our staff to engage with the community, and to help preserve the natural environment of the UAE.”
Commenting on the project, Ida Tillisch, Acting Director General EWS-WWF stated: “Wadi Wurayah is of considerable ecological significance providing a habitat for more than 500 species, recorded in the area. Some of these species are among the rarest found in the UAE and the protection of the wadi has been a vital first step to ensure this unique area will be preserved for future generations.”
The wadi is home to a rich diversity of rare and endangered species including trees, for example
the Sidr and Shuh trees that are indigenous to the UAE and region and a vital part of Wadi Wurayah’s natural habitat. In addition, both trees are an important food source and shelter for much of the wildlife living in the area including the Blanford fox, Arabian Tahr, Caracals, birds and bees.
Continued Tillisch: “Through this baseline study we seek to better understand the condition and capacity of the vegetation in the area. This will help put the right measures in place to ensure its on-going protection and preservation in-line with an overall management plan for the area.”
While EWS-WWF and Fujairah officials work on the study and implement conservation methods to protect the wadi, a key component of the project will also be to bring much needed education and awareness to the local community and visitors of the area about the importance and value of the vegetation for the species living there, as well as planting and protecting tree saplings.
Engineer Mohamed Saif Al Afkham, Director General of Fujairah Municipality commented: “We are committed to continue working with our partners as well as the local community to protect this area in an effective and sustainable manner, and the vegetation study plays is an important step towards that.”
In March 2009, Wadi Wurayah was declared a Mountain Protected Area by H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah following a three year assessment that was carried out by EWS-WWF and Fujairah Municipality, with the sponsorship of HSBC Bank Middle East. In October 2010, due to its biodiversity and permanent water resources, Wadi Wurayah officially joined the list of 1,932 wetlands around the world which are of international importance for biodiversity conservation under the Ramsar Convention. More information about the wadi can be found on the Wadi Wurayah Project Page