A small area of the DDCR is allotted to tourism activity under careful controls and monitoring.
Dubai may have wowed the world with its skyscrapers and man-made islands, but beyond its bright city lights, a well-loved wildlife haven thrives. Last year, the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) has attracted over 238,000 visitors from across the globe.
Covering a 225sqkm area and making up five per cent of the entire emirate, the reserve is home to 800 Arabian Oryx; 450 Arabian gazelles and approximately 120 sand gazelles as of March this year. In 2019, 88 Oryx births were recorded in the sanctuary.
These figures were compiled in the first DDCR annual report, which was released recently as the Emirates Group celebrates 20 years of partnership with the reserve. The report covered key highlights of the year, from desert and wildlife conservation to plans to enhance the visitor experience.
A small area of the DDCR is allotted to tourism activity under careful controls and monitoring. And in the past year, 238,303 visitors came to experience spectacular dune drives, desert safaris and traditional Arabian experiences at the reserve. Well-trained guides help visitors learn more about the desert’s natural habitat, heritage and wildlife, and the importance of conservation.
“The DDCR provides a balance to Dubai’s growth and rapid urbanisation, ensuring the conservation of our desert areas and unique wildlife. Over the past 20 years, the Emirates Group has continually supported the reserve and its various initiatives to nurture a flourishing eco-system,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Group Chairman and Chief Executive.
The partnership between Emirates and DDCR has gone from strength to strength, with Emirates investing Dh8 million into the reserve over the last five years, and Dh28 million since its establishment. The Dubai Conservation Board (DCB) is chaired by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Througout 2019, the reserve continued to work with local and international experts and academics on projects that track, protect and reintroduce indigenous species to the UAE.
In January this year, DDCR worked with the National Aviation Research Centre and the office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to release 250 MacQueen’s Bustards, a large bird species that is classified as vulnerable through rapid population decline, into the reserve.
DDCR was closed to visitors from mid-March in line with precautions taken to fight Covid-19. It the reopened in mid-June with safety measures in place.
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