Update from our desert expedition / working holiday volunteering with oryx and wildcats in the United Arab Emirates (www.biosphere-expeditions.org/emirates)

I’m back in Germany as I send this and wanted to give you a quick summary of our achievements.

During last week’s field work a total of 42 quadrants were surveyed, covering 200 of the DDCR’s 227 sq km. Three teams surveyed an area of 56 sq lm each by foot; set, checked and collected 12 live and 11 camera traps in total. Provisional results of species encounters are sightings of nine different species (excl. reptiles) such as Arabian gazelle, sand gazelle, desert eagle owl, lappet -faced vulture, Maqueen’s bustard, red fox and sand fox. The central group’s four camera traps took 56 pictures of the species above (and oryx, of course), seven more SD cards still need to be checked for results. The presence of Gordon’s wildcat within the reserve was proven so far by tracks only; we’ll keep you updated on the results of the remaining camera traps.

As to the oryx survey, data of 24 oryx herds were recorded all over the DDCR, eighteen herds were sighted in the north, two in the central area and four in the south. Within a range between 0 to 5, the average condition scoring of individuals is 2, corroborating the DDCR scientists’ hunch that the majority of animals are malnourished. Steve is not surprised by this, because the whole desert ecosystem has been suffering from a drought over the last two years, but emphasises how useful it is to have so many oryx surveyed by us volunteers in a short, concerted survey effort.

We would therefore all like to thank everyone involved in the project – first of all all the team members that have put in a lot of sweat and hard work in the field, but also our partners, sponsors and supporters. This conservation project wouldn’t be possible without you! We are looking forward to continue working in desert conservation and hope you’ll all stay involved. A comprehensive report will be published in due course.

Expedition team 2013
Expedition team 2013

I’ve thouroughly enjoyed our time in the desert and hope to see some of you again some time!

Malika

Update from our desert expedition / working holiday volunteering with oryx and wildcats in the United Arab Emirates

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