Bulletin 26 - July 1985: Miscellaneous Records and Press Reports

Miscellaneous Records and Press Reports

The Bustard Group of the International Council for the Protection of Wild Birds met in Dubai between 13th and 15th November 1984, and unanimously adopted a resolution to implement strict protection measures for especially vulnerable populations of bustards. The Arabian 'houbara' has been in decline for several years. The symposium urged that all bustard species should be listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species.

Over a million saplings were planted throughout the country on Tree Day, February 13th 1985, the trees for the most part being supplied by the various municipalities. New public parks in Umm al Oawain and Dibba were also inaugurated.

A visit to Kalba on 17th February provided the Group's bird recorders with further evidence of the existence of the White-collared Kingfisher, Halcyon chloris kalbaensis. It was low tide and five birds were observed resting on the mud flats at one time. Identifiable photographs were taken though the image is small. For previous articles on this rare bird see Bulletins 13 and 23.

The 'Khaleej Times' reported on 25th March that the import of agricultural pesticides would in future be subject to clearance by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to ensure that internationally banned materials are not brought into the UAE market. The local press noted on 3rd May that some 54 plant species in the south west of Saudi Arabia are threatened with extinction because of overgrazing, clearance and agricultural expansion. Four plant species had already become extinct since 1975, and a further 100 species were reckoned to be on the danger list.

The 'Khaleej Times' reported on 2nd June that two ostrich eggs had hatched at Dubai Wildlife Research Centre and others were expected. Recent experiments to rear ostriches from eggs in the semi-wild at Remah near Al Ain have been unsuccessful. Since the ostrich once roamed throughout the Arabian Peninsula -pieces of eggshell litter the desert, including the UAE -- it would be gratifying to see if the species could be reintroduced, as is happening with the gazelle here and the oryx in Oman.

The discovery of over 20 slugs on a shady, grassed area in Abu Dhabi in late May and early June gives us our first records of these creatures in the UAE. Normally inhabiting damp places, they are active mainly at night and feed on a variety of vegetable matter. Slugs are land molluscs with no visible shells. These were probably introduced as eggs in imported manure, liberally spread round town.


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