New nature reserves in Abu Dhabi


This is a greater flamingo video from France.

From Wildlife Extra:

Abu Dhabi opens new wetland reserve and national park

The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) has recently opened two new nature reserves, with a third to follow.

Through the Eco-reserve Programme, the community will be able to explore Abu Dhabi’s natural heritage at three ecosystems that are immensely important for local biodiversity: Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, Mangrove National Park, and Qasr Al Sarab Protected Area.

“As city life increasingly insulates us from our natural world, we need to seek out experiences to reconnect with it,” said HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD.

“The Eco-Reserve Programme offers residents of Abu Dhabi nearby opportunities to re-establish their relationship with nature.

“We want visitors to experience the flight of migrating flamingos, see the mangrove forests, and set foot on the same land as the Arabian oryx.”

The openings are timed so that the public will be able to welcome home more than 4,000 migrating greater flamingos to Al Wathba Wetland Reserve after their summer in Kazakhstan. They first successfully bred on the wetlands in 1998.

It was during the flamingos’ absence, that EAD developed public walking trails, wildlife viewing areas, and visitor infrastructure.

“The landscape around Al Wathba has changed considerably over the past decade and we are making sure that the necessary resources are allocated to the reserve to ensure its proper protection,” said Dr Al Dhaheri, executive director at the agency’s terrestrial and marine biodiversity sector.

“Protecting such an area is crucial in the preservation of Abu Dhabi’s biodiversity.”

Al Wathba is also home to 237 species of invertebrates, 11 of mammals, 10 of reptiles and more than 250 species of birds.

Visitors to the reserve, located 45km from central Abu Dhabi, will be able to enjoy activities such as bird watching, hiking and educational tours, and learn more about EAD’s Flamingo Monitoring Programme, which enlists flying drones and satellite technology to study Abu Dhabi’s flamingo population, track their numbers, migration and breeding patterns and foraging habits.

The second eco-reserve, the Mangrove National Park, is located on the city’s east coast and is primarily accessible by kayak trips through tour operators.

It encompasses 19 sq km of mangrove forest which provides a rich habitat for various marine and bird species.

In addition to providing kayak landing zones, designated walkways and waterways, and educational experiences, EAD will carefully monitor activities within the park to ensure the safety of both wildlife and visitors.

Qasr Al Sarab Protected Area, EAD’s third eco-reserve, is home to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed’s Arabian Oryx Reintroduction Programme, which is helping the oryx recover from the brink of extinction.

Visitors to the reserve will learn about EAD’s programmes to protect Abu Dhabi’s indigenous species, including the oryx, gazelle, reptiles and plants.

The area will open to the public at a later date.

Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Executive Director, Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at EAD said: “EAD manages several protected areas on land, sea, and air that cover more than 13 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s total area.

“While EAD maintains many protected areas; our three new eco-reserves are being opened to promote greater appreciation for our natural heritage.”

British student tortured, jailed in United Arab Emirates


This video from the USA says about itself:

Report: UAE Ruler’s Half Brother in Torture Tape

24 apr. 2009

The United Arab Emirates says a member of its ruling family is the man seen in videotapes torturing another man. The acknowledgement comes at a time when Congress is reviewing a nuclear power deal with the UAE.

From daily the Morning Star in Britain:

Tuesday 3rd june 2014

A TWENTY-YEAR-OLD British student has been jailed for nine years in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after a “confession” under torture, legal charity Reprieve revealed yesterday.

Ahmad Zeidan, from Berkshire, was arrested by Sharjah police in December 2013 and held incommunicado for several days, during which time he was hooded, beaten, and threatened with rape, according to Reprieve.

Mr Zeidan was also forced to sign documents in Arabic — a language he cannot read — which were subsequently used against him during his trial on jumped-up drugs charges.

A dossier submitted last week to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture by Reprieve on behalf of 19 prisoners details a pattern of torture in UAE prisons that includes hooding, beatings, threats of rape, and long periods of solitary confinement.

Reprieve investigator Kate Higham said: “This sentence, based on Ahmad’s ‘confession’ under torture, is the result of a shockingly flawed trial process. Sadly, Ahmad’s case is just one of many that point to the systematic use of police torture in the UAE and its acceptance by the authorities.”The UAE must urgently reconsider Ahmad’s case, while the British government must do all it can to push for his release.”

Update 19 June 20114: here.

A BRITISH man allegedly tortured into confessing to drugs offences by United Arab Emirates police launched an appeal yesterday against his conviction: here.