eleases 18 "Damani" gazelles and attends the release of predatory birds in Al Ghail Fort
The gazelles release marks the inauguration of the first phase of the "Kalba Eco-tourism Project" undertaken by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in collaboration with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) in Sharjah and the International Conservation Services. . His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah also attended the release of a number of predatory birds in Al Ghail Fort, affiliated to the Kalba Eco-tourism Project, during which 21 falcon species were released. The falcon species included AlHur, Shaheen, Al Wakri, Hawk falcon, and Eagle owl, one of the largest of its kind in the world inhabiting deserts and wooded areas. The launch ceremony was attended by H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, H.E Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of the Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), and Abdullah Saif Al Yamahi, Chairman of Kalba Municipal Council. Al Sarkal praised H.H Dr. Sheikh Sultan's efforts to preserve the environment. H.H Sheikh Sultan gives this issue great deal attention in order to achieve a balance between environmental protection and the requirements of comprehensive development, which eventually aim to ensure a better life for those generations to come. He said the implementation of the Kalba Eco-tourism Project comes in line with Shurooq's social responsibility efforts and its strong belief in the preservation of environmental heritage and development of Eco-tourism Project to serve the nation and citizens, which will have great impact in the future. Al Sarkal stressed the need for establishments and individuals to be fully aware of their social responsibility to preserve environment and the natural eco-diversity as well as to reduce environmental pollution and conserve natural resources. He said that Kalba Eco-tourism project will not only contribute to protecting these areas for future generations, but also to making them sustainable and promising areas for economic growth and the creation of job opportunities. Al Sarkal said, "The release of gazelles comes within the first phase of the Kalba- Eco-tourism project, which was launched recently. The project will be implemented in three phases, the first of which will see the redevelopment of natural reserves in Kalba (Hafiya and Al Qurm natural reserves) in cooperation with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) release of rare animals and birds and the establishment of a centre within the reserve for visitors, as well as the restoration of archaeological sites within the project." He noted that work on phase 1 is already underway. The second phase of the project will involve the development of Kalba Creek and the construction of a commercial complex featuring shops and restaurants overlooking the creek. It will include the development of recreational spaces that will enable holidaymakers to enjoy the area's natural biodiversity without causing harm or negatively affecting its wildlife. Phase 2 of the project will also comprise the development of a number of islands in the creek, as well as rehabilitation to revive their natural marine and bird life. Regarding the third phase, Al Sarkal stated, "Phase 3 has been designated for the tourism part of the project, which will see the setting up of a number of hotels and fantastically designed chalets overlooking the Gulf of Oman." He added that more than 300 rooms spanning hotels and chalets would be built in line with eco-friendly standards. He added that the Kalba project will be widely welcomed by lovers of Eco-tourism from all over the world, because it will feature many facilities and diverse amenities and activities that will make it an incomparable tourist destination in the world. The project will include a dedicated art building, a centre for diving and marine hobbies, as well as offering trips to explore Khor Kalba and the mangroves. Al Sarkal pointed out that the development of such a project stems from Shurooq's environmental awareness and commitment to preserving natural environment and wild life and biodiversity, which must by everyone's responsibility. He added that Shurooq aims through this project to preserve all the Emirate's environmental components and safeguard the achievements made under the leadership of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah. Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of the Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), said, "The Kalba project is one of the important Eco-tourism projects in the UAE and the region, and Kalba in particular." Al Suwaidi said the aim of the release of endangered wild animals in "Al Hafiya" natural reserve was to rehabilitate the wild nature of the reserve which once was home to rare animal species but was then damaged as a result of overfishing and human wrong doing. She said Al Hafiya natural reserve is rich in its bio-diversity and natural resources and topographic characteristics that would help rehabilitate and re-introduce rare and endangered animals. She added that the release of these animals and birds would help rehabilitate the reserve and bring it back to what it was before and preserve its natural resources and environmental characteristics by providing protection and care to mangroves and rehabilitation of rare and endangered birds and animals. Media representatives were also present during the release of endangered gazelles and falcons. They visited Khor Kalba and toured Al Qurm reserve and areas on which the Kalba Eco-tourism project will be implemented. Shurooq aims through the development of this project to curb the environmental degradation of killing animals and destroying plants, preserve Eco-diversity and re-habitat some extinct species and provide protection and veterinary care for these animals, apart from the development of the echo-tourism sector to the which is one of the latest means of tourist attraction in the world The Kalba Eco-tourism Project, which is being implemented under the supervision of Shurooq is the largest of its kind in the development eco-tourism facilities in the UAE and the region, will be set up in the heart of Kalba, 15 km south of Fujairah city on the UAE-Oman borders. Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah's distinct Arab and Islamic identity, so as to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world. The Authority's main mission is to provide the necessary facilities and incentives, to overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the Emirate, to evaluate tourism-related infrastructure projects, and to lay down the necessary plans and groundwork to complete such projects.