Wadi Wurayah becomes the UAE’s first mountain protected area
Wadi Wurayah - one of WWF Global 200 Ecoregions
Wadi Wurayah, now protected. Credit EWS
April 2009: Wadi Wurayah Fujairah has officially been declared the UAE's first protected mountain area by His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi. The decree comes after the completion of a successful three year project, launched in 2006, by Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS) - WWF and Fujairah Municipality with the support of HSBC Bank Middle East ltd, to assess the importance of Wadi Wurayah for nature conservation and to establish it as a protected area.
The wadi is a 129 kilometre-square catchment that occupies the northern reaches of Fujairah between the towns of Masafi, Khor Fakkan and Bidiyah. Due to its permanent water resource the area has been used by local communities for thousands of years and is home to rare and endangered species such as the Arabian Tahr and Arabian Leopard which are vital to the UAE's national heritage. The wadi is located within the "Arabian Highlands and Shrublands" one of the WWF Global 200 Ecoregions group of the richest, rarest and most distinctive of the earth's natural habitats.
12 species of mammal - 73 birds
Arabian leopards may still be found in Wadi Wurayah. Credit EWS.
Commenting on the landmark achievement, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director EWS-WWF stated, " Over the past three years we have revealed the presence of 12 species of mammals, 73 species of birds, 17 species of reptiles and amphibians, 1 species of fish and 74 invertebrate families, of which 11 new species for science. More than 300 species of plants have been recorded in the area, including species that are found only in wetlands such as Typha dominginsis and the orchid endemic to the UAE: Epipactis veratrifolia."
Wadi Wurayah. Credit EWS