An Exciting Discovery


First Arabian Eagle-Owl found in the UAE

Last month, the Emirates Wildlife Society in association with World Wide Fund (EWS-WWF) confirmed the discovery of a previously unsighted owl species in the UAE ÔÇö the Arabian Eagle Owl (Bubo africanus milesi) ÔÇö among the rich wildlife currently inhabiting the Hajar Mountains in the Eastern Region.

Discovered during an owl survey conducted by Anthony Stoquert, a scientist from EWS-WWFÔÇÖs Terrestrial Conservation Programme, with the support of Sami Majeed, a Wadi Wurayah National Park ranger from Fujairah Municipality, the sighting of the Arabian Eagle Owl highlights the growing need for more in-depth research and studies on the UAEÔÇÖs rich biodiversity.

ÔÇ£This recent finding has been quite exciting for the EWS team, as it is undoubtedly just one of many undiscovered species that call the UAE home,ÔÇØ said Jacky Judas, Manager and Scientific Advisor of Terrestrial Biodiversity at the EWS-WWF.

ÔÇ£In spite of a hot and arid climate, a wide variety of resilient and fascinating species thrive in our deserts and mountain areas. And itÔÇÖs not only species resident in the Arabian Peninsula but also wintering or migrant species on their way between Asia and Africa. Unfortunately though, the rapid pace of development has become a major threat to many of these creatures. Thus, it is crucial that we ramp up collective efforts to protect and safeguard key habitats and endangered species, all of which constitute the UAEÔÇÖs rich natural heritage,ÔÇØ he added.

This discovery stems from EWS-WWFÔÇÖs 2015 initiative of organising a comprehensive owl survey in the Hajar mountain range after the discovery of an Omani Owl in Wady Wurayah National Park.

ÔÇ£If a large bird like this which is 45cm in height and weighs between 600 to 800g went unnoticed up to the beginning of the 21st century, what about much smaller species of animals and plants, or under-surveyed taxonomic groups?ÔÇØ said Judas.

For more information on the groupÔÇÖs initiatives, visit uae.panda.org
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