Bulletin 29 - July 1986: Comments


At long last it appears that the various natural history groups in the country are moving closer towards integration. A weekend meeting attended by committees and members of the Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai groups was held in late June at the Hatta Fort Hotel and ended with a consensus that more co-operation was necessary. The Al Ain and Dubai groups are referring back to their full Committees as this Bulletin goes to press but it is to be hoped that the efforts of the present ENHG (Abu Dhabi) Chairman will meet with more success than previous attempts to link up with Dubai. It makes sense in a country as small as the UAE to have an umbrella organisation whereby exchanges of information and speakers can be made easily and to everyone's benefit, rather than work under the parochial arrangements that have to date characterised the various groupings of people interested in natural history. The ENHG (Abu Dhabi) does not make any claim to be the 'father figure' of the groups but has always tried to promote an integrated approach. Hence the 'Group' in the title rather than 'Society', and the epithet (Abu Dhabi). Let's hope it works this time.

For a long time now the ENHG Al Ain branch has been compiling articles for what was hoped would be an annual journal, concentrating on the natural history of that particular region. Publication has been delayed for a number of reasons and now appears impossible in the desired format. Hence the ENHG (Al Ain) has passed on this wealth of material to Abu Dhabi for publication in the Bulletin. We are extremely grateful for this gesture and will of course give full credit to Al Ain articles as they are published. This edition thus includes an article by Nick Saines, the Al Ain Chairman, dealing with the history of the Buraimi Oasis (see page 2 opposite).

In fact there should be something of interest for everyone in this issue, with topics ranging from sea water to botany and from bees to fog. The Arabic section is a translation of M.I.R. Khan's 1981 article on mangroves, an apt subject at this time with a survey currently being carried out into the mangroves to the east of Abu Dhabi Island, with the active encouragement of the Group's sponsor, H.E. Shaikh Nahayyan bin Mubarak al Nahayyan.

Interest in the Gulf environment continues to grow apace. The 'Gulf News' reported on 10/6/86 that Abu Dhabi is going to cooperate with Saudi Arabia and Australia on a survey to seek ways of protecting the dugong, which appear to be threatened more by dredging and coastal land reclamation than by that old bogey the oil slick. The same threat was extensively highlighted by the 'Emirates News' on 23/5/86.

On land, the story is also depressing, with recent press statements of the demise of the bustard throughout the Arabian Peninsula, and the 'Khaleej Times' reporting on 20/6/86 that the wild cat "could be nearing extinction in its habitat in the Northern Emirates." Together, the ENHGs will not necessarily reduce the overall threat, but they can record and recommend. We owe it to the country which has given us so much interest and enjoyment.


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