Press Release

Kalba-eco tourism project witnesses birth of first female Damani gazelles within Al Hafiya and Al Qurm natural reserve

May 27, 2013

The Kalba Eco-Tourism Project, the largest of its kind in the development Eco-tourism facilities in the UAE and the region, is being set up in Khor Kalba, 15 km south of Fujairah city on the UAE-Oman borders and features natural reserves and diverse tourist and commercial facilities. Speaking on the occasion, HE Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) in Sharjah, stated "The birth of the endangered Damani gazelles on the 4th and 7th April, followed by the birth of three more gazelles, which are known to be breeding in spring and autumn, bring the number of gazelles in the Al Hafiya protected area from 29 to 34." Al Suwaidi noted that these births are clear evidence of the success of the project's aims proving that the gazelles have adapted to their natural habitat and signalling that the natural reserve provides the type of healthy conditions needed to preserve the species natural lifecycle. Speaking about future plans to release more gazelles, Al Suwaidi said a specialised team from EPPA is currently tasked with monitoring the animals in accordance with a detailed plan to release and re-introduce more endangered wild animals in the protected areas in Sharjah. "We are working now on the redevelopment of the natural reserves in Kalba (Al Hafiya and Al Qurm natural reserves in Khor Kalba), as part of the first phase of the Kalba-Eco-tourism project, in order to preserve the rare biodiversity of the area and rehabilitate its fauna and flora in order to bring it back to what it was before. These areas were once home to rare animal species that became damaged as a result of overfishing and human wrongdoing. Our plans are being implemented through a carefully studied plan to help curb the environmental degradation and rehabilitate a number of endangered animal and bird species," she added. HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), commented, "The progress made in the rehabilitation of natural reserves within the Kalba eco-tourism project is an important step for the development of the project as a whole. Especially since the project's main focus is on ecotourism, making it dependent on the sustainable development of ecological life and conservation of animal and plant resources in the region." Al Sarkal also lauded the role of the Environment and Protected Areas Authority in the development of this important part of the project. Characterised by its small size, the endangered Damani gazelle is well adapted to the wild environment, feeding on herbs that are rich in dew to compensate for the scarcity of water and travelling long distances in search of water and once found drinking enough quantity. The Kalba eco-tourism project is one of the most important tourism projects in the UAE and the region and will offer its visitors a unique experience in the form of an incomparable tourist destination featuring many attractions and diverse world-class facilities and amenities.
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