Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Royal Treatment for Wadi Wurayah, Fujairah

H.H. Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, Hosts HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden at UAE’s 1st established Mountain Protected Area.

Fujairah, UAE, January 19, 2010:
The resident Caracal and Arabian Tahr in Wadi Wurayah were not alone Wednesday as His Highness Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, and HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden toured the UAE’s 1st established Mountain Protected Area with the conservation team from Emirates Wildlife Society – WWF (EWS-WWF).

Wadi Wurayah, home to some of the world’s most endangered and rare wildlife, was the focal point of this royal visit to Fujairah. The Wadi is one of the few remaining intact freshwater catchments in the UAE. The freshwater is critical to supporting the resident biodiversity. The uniqueness of this ecosystem prompted its protection in 2009 by royal decree in the emirate of Fujairah.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed warmly welcomed HRH Crown Princess Victoria to the emirate of Fujairah and Wadi Wurayah. “Thank you for visiting us in this special location”, he said. “We greatly appreciate your interest in our Mountain Protected Area. Your visit is a wonderful support to our work of conserving and protecting this unique region”.

His Highness, the Crown Prince said he wanted to encourage people to visit Wadi Wurayah, to enjoy its beauty and to do all that they can to protect its rich wildlife and cultural heritage.

The Wadi is home to a diverse array of rare and endangered mammals, plants, insects, and amphibians. Camera traps positioned and maintained by EWS-WWF have confirmed the presence of the Arabian Tahr – once thought extinct in the UAE. The UAE’s only Orchid - Epipactis veratrifolia – survives here, as well as the Oman-UAE endemic wadi fish: Garra barreimiae, classified “Vulnerable” by the IUCN. Wadi Wurayah is also home to 30 insect species that are new to science, 14 of which were first described within this protected area, including two named after the Wadi.

Her Excellency, Razan Al Mubarak, Managing Director of EWS-WWF, accompanied the royal court and said “Wadi Wurayah is a prime example of the cultural and natural history of the UAE. Our forefathers, going back many generations, relied on it for sustenance and we continue to rely on it to remind us of the fragility of life in the desert. For preserving this place for our country’s children, we are indebted to the vision and support of H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah and H.H. Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah”.

This preservation of Wadi Wurayah is the result of collaboration between EWS-WWF, the Municipality of Fujairah, and private sector funding from HSBC Bank Middle East. The Wadi now acts as an awareness and education centre, providing open-air classrooms for hundreds of children and students from all the emirates.

Official Press Release.

Image: HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden with host HH Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, enjoying the delights of Wadi Wurayah, Fujairah.

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