Bulletin 37 - March 1989: Comments


Every so often there comes to prominence an environmental issue that makes those of us interested in natural history feel that what we are trying to do is having some impact. The Wetlands Reserve in Abu Dhabi was one such issue. At the recent AGM, Peter Hellyer called on members to lobby Sheikhs and Rulers on the topic of wildlife conservation (see p.3). Peter is now delighted to report that His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohamed al Sharqi, Supreme Council member and Ruler of Fujairah, has promised protection for large and endangered mammals in that Emirate. Sheikh Hamad recalled in a recent meeting that the last leopard to be reported in his Emirate was near Bithna more than 10 years ago. He appreciates that many species of large carnivore are threatened and has stated that it is his policy, and that of his Government, to discourage wanton killing of these animals. Sheikh Hamad's obvious interest in this issue extends to a request for ENHG information on any sightings in Fujairah. It is to be hoped that the Ruler and Government of Ras al Khaimah will now follow suit, as it is in that Emirate in particular where it seems most hunting is still being conducted. This is all the more unfortunate in that Ras al Khaimah and Musandam are apparently the last refuges in this part of Arabia for some of the larger mammals.

Once again it is necessary to report the leaving of Committee members. Both Joe Fowler (Secretary) and Roy Campbell (Treasurer) have been Committee Members for two years and it is with great regret that we see them departing Abu Dhabi. We wish them well for the future and thank them both for their contributions to the ENHG. At the AGM Wanda Barnes was elected in Joe's place and we warmly welcome her on to the Committee. As at the time of going to press, we urgently need a new Treasurer. Any takers?

Other articles in this issue include one on archaeology at Bithna in Fujairah by Peter Hellyer, and an interesting account of the sabkha along the Abu Dhabi coastline by Jose de Matos, our Geology Recorder. Stan Howe was a recent visitor to the UAE and under Bish Brown's firm guidance was shown the country's major regions of ornithological interest; in response, Stan has contributed a detailed article on breeding Socotran cormorants but with his eye for detail many other bird species are also included. Gary Feulner contributes a first article (more please Gary) on Carpet Vipers near Hatta, while Chris van Riet, a helicopter pilot, has sent in another interesting record of his latest marine observations taken from his vantage point, this time covering flamingoes, cormorants and dolphins. Finally, we report Sheikha Al Maskery's talk on the problem facing Bedouin youth in adapting to the late 20th Century urbanization on the UAE.

As a postscript, it is good to have Len Reaney, doyen of Das bird-watchers, back in the UAE, this time with his feet placed firmly on the mainland, where his impact on ornithological recordings is sure to be felt soon. Welcome back, Len.


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