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Expedition report: Ways of the desert: conserving Arabian oryx, Gordon’s wildcat and other species of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, United Arab Emirates (January 2018)

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Abstract The successful collaboration between Biosphere Expeditions and the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR), initiated in 2012, continues with citizen scientists collecting data for a week from 20 to 27 January 2018. Data gathered alerted the DDCR management to several conservation issues and also allowed for informed, fact-based management decisions to be made in a showcase of how the work of citizen scientists can aid the efforts of conservation professionals. Of the target species, the 2018 expedition observed 943 Arabian oryx, 555 mountain gazelle, 171 sand gazelle, 2 red fox, 3 Arabian hare, 18 MacQueen’s Bustards, 5 lappet-faced vultures, 1 cinereous vulture and 2 pharaoh eagle owls. 528 individual Arabian oryx were also counted, showing an overall increase of the population. Both circular and random observations of Arabian gazelle and then combining these for each quadrant greatly improved the predicted distribution of Arabian gazelle when compared to the results from 2017 (Simkins and Hammer 2018). The main concentration of Arabian gazelle is in the central part of the DDCR and appears to be as a result of the adapted habitats such as the irrigated areas at some old farms and tree plantations, which provide more food and shelter for this species. The counts of sand gazelle have increased from counts in previous years (Simkins and Hammer 2018 and other expedition reports), as well as the regular DDCR counts, and can be considered an accurate estimate of the population within the DDCR. Predicted distribution has expanded from that of 2017; however, the concentrations are consistently in the south of the DDCR and correlate to a concentration of individuals at Tawi Ghadier irrigated area. A repeat survey on the distribution of vegetation counted nearly 8,500 plants during circular observations. Once again the dominant species was the fire bush (Leptadenia pyrotechnica) (8131), followed by congregated ghaf trees (Procera cineraria) (264), widely distributed Acacia trees (Acacia tortilis) (64) and Sodom’s apple (Calotropis procera) (31). Predicted distribution of the two shrub species (fire bush and Sodom’s apple), which are both important indicator species for the reserve’s habitats was not as accurate as in 2017, because the perimeter quadrants were not surveyed due to a smaller expedition team. The 2018 repeat Arabian red fox den survey shows a 54% reduction in the number of active dens compared to 2017, of which seventeen were abandoned and ten became inactive. However, two inactive and two abandoned dens became active once again. Possible explanations are a reduction in rodent food supply and concomitant expansion of ranges or variability in survey efforts. At this stage it is unclear what the root causes are and as such more intensive training of citizen scientists to ensure consistent survey effort, as well as continued monitoring of red fox dens, will form part of future expeditions. A continued decline in red fox dens could be indicative of a threat to the population within the reserve, which in turn may require a management intervention. Three live traps were set for five nights for a total of 15 trap nights. The 2018 expedition had more success than the 2017 expedition, when no captures were made. In 2018, tracks of the red fox and cats were observed at all trap locations. There was also one unsuccessful trigger and three captures. The Northern trap was triggered with no capture, but with evidence of fox presence. The Southern trap captured a feral cat on the second night. The Central trap had two captures of a target species, namely the Arabian red fox on the first and last nights. Of the 17 camera traps set, there were three traps that failed to produce any wildlife photos. However, they were active during the survey period and as such counted towards the camera trapping effort. A total of 85 trapping days captured 4,581 images of which 4,001 were images containing an identifiable subject. 3,084 individual records of naturally occurring fauna were recorded, as well as 1,998 humans or vehicles. Fourteen wildlife species were captured. A high number of bird species (9) were recorded this year. The most significant bird captures were the 134 lappet-faced vultures counted in all the photos from two traps and a rare record in the UAE, only the third ever, of a cinereous vulture. Arabian oryx was the most abundant and widespread species, recorded with 2,194 captures counted in all the photos from ten of the seventeen traps. High numbers of Eurasian collared doves (330) were also captured, nearly all at camera trap 19. Of the target species, 258 Arabian gazelle from nine traps, 18 sand gazelle from three traps, 13 Arabian red fox from three traps, and 5 Arabian hare from one trap were recorded. No Gordon’s wildcat or sand fox were recorded by camera traps. In 2017 the DDCR management received approval to translocate Arabian oryx from the reserve to other protected areas and zoological collections within the region. It was hoped that this would alleviate some of the pressure of a growing population on the environment. However, this has not proved sufficiently successful in 2017 to reduce or even maintain the oryx population size. A project to analyse the genetic composition of the DDCR oryx population will be implemented in 2019 in order to best manage the genetic quality of the herd and place the emphasis on quality, rather than quantity, as a measure of a successful reintroduction programme. Although currently herd management through the removal of animals from the DDCR is the priority, the reintroduction of an apex predator to restore a natural ecological process putting top-down pressure on he ungulate population will continue to be explored to hopefully find a socially acceptable solution. الملخص مازال التعاون الناجح بين محمية دبي الصحراوية وبرنامج بعثات المحيط الحيوي مستمرا منذ بدء البرنامج في العام 2012م حيث استمرت الدراسة بتجميع البيانات الحقلية بواسطة متطوعين من غير ذوي الاختصاص لمدة أسبوع من 20 يناير 2017م وحتى 27 يناير 2017م. حيث أيدت البيانات التي تم تجميعها للعديد من الملاحظات والأنشطة من قبل إدارة محمية دبي الصحراوية وكذلك ساعدت المحمية في الحصول على العديد من المعلومات المفيدة واتخاذ قرارات صحيحة والتي تصب في صالح المحمية والتي بدورها ساهمت في تعزيز التعاون المثمر بين المتطوعين المهتمين بالحياة البرية والباحثين العاملين بالمحمية. أجرت بعثة المحيط الحيوي لعام 2018م العديد من المسوحات العلمية للعديد من الأنواع المستهدفة بالدراسة حيث تم تسجيل 943 فرد من المها العربي (Oryx leuoryx)، 555 غزال الأدمي (Gazella gazella)، 171 فرد من غزال الريم (Gazella marica)، اثنان من الثعالب الحمراء (Vulpes Vulpes arabica)، ثلاثة أرانب برية (Lepus capensis)، 18 طائر الحباري، ستة من النسور بالإضافة إلى عدد اثنان من البوم الصحراوي (Bubo ascalaphus). ولقد أظهرت الدراسة زيادة بمقدار 528 فرد من المها العربي مقارنة بالعام الماضي مما يدل على الزيادة المستمرة لقطعان المها العربي بالمحمية. ظهر تحسن كبير في جودة البيانات التي تم تجميعها في تلك السنة حيث تم دمج طريقة تجميع البيانات بصورة عشوائية مع طريقة تجميع البيانات عن طريق النقاط الدائرية وبالمقارنة مع نتائج الدراسة الماضية لسنة 2017م لوحظ أن هناك تركيز رئيسي للغزال العربي في الجزء المركزي للمحمية ويبدو أن ذلك يرجع للتكيف مع البيئات المحيطة من مزارع قديمة والتي يتوفر بها المزيد من الماء والغذاء والمأوي لهذا النوع. زادت أعداد تسجيل غزال الرمال مقارنة بالتعدادات السابقة ويعتبر التقدير الحالي دقيقاً لتعداد الغزال بالمحمية بمقارنته بالسنين الماضية مع استمرار تركيز التواجد في نفس المناطق التي سجل بها غزال الرمال في السنوات الماضية. أدي تكرار تجميع بيانات ومشاهدات توزيع النباتات بالمحمية مثال الأشجار والشجيرات الكبيرة الي تسجيل أعداد ما يقرب من 8,500 فرد من النباتات من خلال تسجيل المشاهدات في المواقع التي اعتمدت طريقة النقاط الدائرية. مازال النوع السائد هو شجيرة المرخ (Leptadenia pyrotechnica) بأعداد تتراوح إلى (8,131شجيرة)، وأشجار الغاف (Procera cineria) (264 شجرة)، وأشجار السمر (Acacia tortilis) (64 شجرة)، وشجيرة العشار (Calotropis procera) (31 شجرة) لم يكن التوزيع المتوقع لشجيرات المرخ والعشار دقيقا كما كان في العام 2017م حيث كان عدد الفريق صغيرا مقارنة بالعام السابق. أظهر المسح المتكرر لأوكار الثعالب الحمراء عام 2018م انخفاضا في عدد الاوكار النشطة بنسبة 54% مقارنة بالعام السابق حيث تم التخلي عن 17 وكر وسبعة أوكار أصبحت مهجورة. مع ذلك، تم تسجيل تحول اثنان من الاوكار المهجورة وأثنان من الاوكار الغير نشطة إلى أوكار نشطة ثانية، يمكن ان يكون أحدي التفسيرات المحتملة لتلك الظاهرة هي انخفاض في إمدادات الغذاء من القوارض والثدييات الصغيرة وما يصاحب ذلك من توسع في نطاقات السيطرة للثعالب الحمراء. من غير الواضح في تلك المرحلة ماهي الأسباب الجذرية لتلك الظاهرة ولذلك يجب ان يتبع ذلك التدريب المكثف للمتطوعين والمهتمين لضمان جهد مميز في عمليات تجميع البيانات مع المراقبة المستمرة لأوكار تلك الثعالب مما قد يشكل جزءا من الحملات التطوعية المستقبلية، يمكن أن يكون الانخفاض المستمر في أعداد أوكار الثعالب مؤشرا على إحدى المهددات التي تؤثر على تلك الكائنات بالمحمية مما يتطلب تدخل الإدارة الفوري. تم نصب ثلاث مصائد لمدة خمس ليال ليصبح المجموع 15مصيدة لكل ليلة، حققت نتائج 2018م نجاحا اكبر من 2017م حيث تم ملاحظة أثار اقدام الثعلب الأحمر والقط البري في جميع مواقع المصائد، تم إغلاق المصائد ثلاث مرات، في شمال المحمية تم إطلاق المصيدة بالرغم من عدم احتجاز أي حيوان بري ولكن وجدت أدلة على وجود الثعلب الأحمر، في جنوب المحمية تم إطلاق المصيدة وبداخلها قط ضال في الليلة الثانية، أما بالنسبة للمصيدة المركزية تم اصطياد الثعلب الأحمر مرتين في الليلة الأولي والليلة الأخيرة. من بين 17 كاميرا مراقبة للحياة البرية، كان هناك عدد ثلاث كاميرات فشلت في التقاط أي صور للحياة البرية. ومع ذلك، كانت جميع الكاميرات فعالة طوال فترة الدراسة، وبالتالي تم حساب عدد الأيام فيما يتعلق بجهود مصايد الكاميرات. نتج عن ذلك ما مجموعه 85 يوما من المراقبة بالكاميرات حيث تم التقاط حوالي 4,581 صورة منها 4,001 صورة لكائنات حية. وكان عدد 3,084 من تلك المشاهدات للحيوانات الموجودة بالطبيعة وعدد 1,988 صورة لبشر أو مركبات وشملت تلك المشاهدات بكاميرات المراقبة أربعة عشر نوعاً من أنواع الحياة البرية. تم تسجيل عدد تسعة أنواع من الطيور ومنها 134 من النسور العقابية حيث تعتبر من المشاهدات النادرة في الامارات العربية المتحدة. يعتبر المها العربي من أكثر الأنواع وفرة وانتشارا بالمحمية حيث تم تسجيل 2,194 صورة للمها العربي من خلال عشر من مصائد الكاميرات والتي مجموعها سبعة عشر. تم تسجيل عدد 330 من الحمام البري فقط في الكاميرا رقم 19. من الأنواع المستهدفة بالدراسة تم تسجيل عدد 258 غزال عربي في تسع كاميرات و18 غزال رملي من ثلاث كاميرات، 13 ثعلب أحمر من ثلاث كاميرات وكذلك 5 ارانب برية من كاميرا واحدة. لم يتم تسجيل أي قطط او ثعالب الرمال او القطط جوردون البرية بواسطة مصائد الكاميرات. في عام 2017، تلقت إدارة محمية دبي الصحراوية الموافقة المبدئية على نقل المها العربي من المحمية إلى مناطق محمية أخرى داخل منطقة غرب أسيا وشمال افريقيا. كان من المأمول أن يخفف هذا من بعض الضغوط الناتجة عن الزيادة في أعداد المها العربي. تقوم محمية دبي الصحراوية حاليا بتنفيذ مشروع بحثي لتحليل التكوين الوراثي لقطعان المها العربي بشكل أفضل. بالرغم من أن هدف محمية دبي الصحراوية الأساسي من إدارة قطعان المها والغزلان هو تقليل الاعداد ويعتبر من الأولويات الضرورية فإن محاولات إعادة إدخال مفترس رئيسي لاستعادة التوازن البيئي الطبيعي مستمرة علي أمل الوصول لحل مقبول اجتماعيا
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EXPEDITION
REPORT
Expedition dates:
20
27 Januar
y 2018
Report publ
ished:
20
1
9
Ways of the d
esert:
conserving Arabian oryx, Gordon’s
wildcat and other species of the Dubai
Desert Conservation Reserve,
United Arab Emirates.
1
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
EXPEDITION REPORT
Ways of the desert:
Conserving
Arabian oryx, Gordon’s wildcat and other
species of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve,
United Arab Emirates.
Expedition dates:
20
2
7
January 201
8
Report
published:
January 2019
Author
s
:
Gregory Simkins
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
Matthias Hammer
(editor)
Biosphere Expeditions
2
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Abstract
The successful collaboration between Biosphere Expeditions and the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
(DDCR),
initiated in 2012, continues with citizen scientists collecting data for a week from 2
0
to 2
7
January 201
8
.
Data gathered alerted the DDCR management to several conservation issues and also allowed for informed, fact
-
based management decisions to be made
in a showcase of how the work of citizen scientists can aid the efforts of
conservation professionals.
Of the target species, the 2018 expedition observed 943 Arabian oryx, 555 mountain gazelle
,
171 sand
gazelle, 2 red fox, 3 Arabian hare, 18 M
a
cQueen’s
Bustards, 5 lappet
-
faced vultures
, 1 ciner
e
ous vulture
and 2
pharaoh eagle owls.
528
individual
Arabian
o
ryx
were also counted
, showing an overall increase of the
population
.
B
oth circular and random observations
of Arabian gazelle
and then combining thes
e for each quadrant
greatly improved the predicted distribution of Arabian gazelle when compared to the results from 2017 (Simkins
and Hammer 2018). The main concentration of Arabian gazelle is in the central part of the DDCR and appears to
be as a result
of the adapted habitats such as the irrigated areas at
some
old farms and tree plantations, which
provide more food and shelter for th
is
species.
The counts of sand gazelle
have
increased from
c
ounts in previous years (Simkins and Hammer 2018 and
other exp
edition reports), as well as the regular DDCR counts, and can be considered an accurate estimate of the
population within the DDCR. Predicted distribution has expanded from that of 2017
;
however, the concentrations
are consistently in the south of the DDCR
and correlate to a concentration of individuals at Tawi Ghadier irrigated
area.
A repeat survey
on the distribution of vegetation
counted nearly 8,500 plants during circular observations.
Once again the
dominant species
was
the fire bush (
Leptadenia pyrot
echnica
) (8131), followed by congregated
ghaf trees (
Procera cineraria
) (264), widely distributed Acacia trees (
Acacia tortilis
) (64) and
Sodom’s apple
(
Calotropis procera
)
(31).
Predicted distribution of the two shrub species (fire bush and Sodom’s apple)
, which are
both important indicator species for the reserve’s habitats
was not as accurate as in 2017, because the perimeter
quadrants were not survey
ed
due to a smaller expedition team
.
The 2018
repeat
Arabian
red fox den
survey shows a 54% reduction in
the number of active dens
compared to 2017, of which seventeen were abandoned and ten became inactive. However, two inactive and two
abandoned dens became active once again.
Possible explanations are a reduction in rodent food supply and
concomitant expan
sion of ranges or variability in survey efforts. At this stage it is unclear what the root causes are
and as such more intensive training of citizen scientists to ensure consistent survey effort, as well as continued
monitoring of red fox dens
,
will form p
art of future expeditions. A continued decline in red fox dens could be
indicative of a threat to the population within
the
reserve, which in turn may require a management intervention.
Three
live
traps were set for five nights for a total of 15 trap night
s. The 2018 expedition had more
success than the 2017 expedition
,
when no captures were made. In 2018
,
tracks of the
r
ed fox and cats
were
observed at all trap locations. There
w
as also one unsuccessful trigger and three captures. The Northern trap was
tri
ggered with no capture, but with evidence of fox presence. The Southern trap captured a feral cat on the second
night. The Central trap had two captures of a target species, namely the Arabian red fox on the first and last
nights.
Of the 17
camera
traps s
et, there were three traps that failed to produce any wildlife photos. However,
they were active during the survey period and as such counted towards the camera trapping effort. A total of 85
trapping days captured 4,581 images of which 4,001 were images c
ontaining an identifiable subject. 3,084
individual records of naturally occurring fauna were recorded, as well as 1,998 humans or vehicles. Fourteen
wildlife species were captured.
A high number of bird species (9) were recorded this year. The most signif
icant bird
captures were the 134 lappet
-
faced vultures counted in all the photos from two traps and a rare record
in the UAE
,
only the third ever, of a ciner
e
ous vulture.
Arabian oryx was the most abundant and widespread species, recorded
with 2,194 captur
es counted in all the photos from ten of the seventeen traps. High numbers of Eurasian collared
doves (330) were also captured, nearly all at camera trap 19. Of the target species, 258 Arabian gazelle from nine
traps, 18 sand gazelle from three traps, 13 A
rabian red fox from three traps, and 5 Arabian hare from one trap
were recorded. No Gordon’s wildcat or sand fox were recorded by camera traps.
In 2017 the DDCR management received approval to translocate Arabian oryx from the reserve to other
protected ar
eas and zoological collections within the region. It was hoped that this would alleviate some of the
pressure of a growing population on the environment. However, this has not proved sufficiently successful in 2017
to reduce or even maintain the oryx popul
ation size. A project to analyse the genetic composition of the DDCR
oryx population will be implemented in 2019
in order to best manage the genetic quality of the herd and place the
emphasis on quality, rather than quantity
,
as a measure of a successful
r
e
introduction programme.
Although currently herd management through the removal of animals from t
he DDCR is the priority, the
re
introduction of an apex predator to restore a natural ecological process putting top
-
down pressure on he
ungulate population wil
l continue to be explored to hopefully find a socially acceptable solution
.
3
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
صﺧﻠﻣﻟا
لازﺎﻣ
نوﺎﻌﺗﻟا
ﺢﺟﺎﻧﻟا
نﯾﺑ
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣ
ﻲﺑد
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ذﻧﻣ
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ﺞﻣﺎﻧرﺑﻟا
ﻲﻓ
مﺎﻌﻟا
2012
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يوذ
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عوﺑﺳأ
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20
رﯾﺎﻧﯾ
2017
م
ﻰﺗﺣو
27
رﯾﺎﻧﯾ
2017
م
.
ثﯾﺣ
تدﯾأ
تﺎﻧﺎﯾﺑﻟا
ﻲﺗﻟا
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دﯾدﻌﻠﻟ
نﻣ
تﺎظﺣﻼﻣﻟا
ﺔطﺷﻧﻷاو
نﻣ
لﺑﻗ
ةرادإ
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣ
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ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣﻟا
ﻲﻓ
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ﻰﻠﻋ
دﯾدﻌﻟا
نﻣ
تﺎﻣوﻠﻌﻣﻟا
ةدﯾﻔﻣﻟا
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تارارﻗ
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ﻲﻓ
ﺢﻟﺎﺻ
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تﻣھﺎﺳ
ﻲﻓ
زﯾزﻌﺗ
نوﺎﻌﺗﻟا
رﻣﺛﻣﻟا
نﯾﺑ
نﯾﻋوطﺗﻣﻟا
نﯾﻣﺗﮭﻣﻟا
ةﺎﯾﺣﻟﺎﺑ
ﺔﯾرﺑﻟا
نﯾﺛﺣﺎﺑﻟاو
نﯾﻠﻣﺎﻌﻟا
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣﻟﺎﺑ
.
ترﺟأ
ﺔﺛﻌﺑ
طﯾﺣﻣﻟا
يوﯾﺣﻟا
مﺎﻌﻟ
2018
م
دﯾدﻌﻟا
نﻣ
تﺎﺣوﺳﻣﻟا
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عاوﻧﻷا
ﺔﻓدﮭﺗﺳﻣﻟا
ﺔﺳاردﻟﺎﺑ
ثﯾﺣ
مﺗ
لﯾﺟﺳﺗ
943
درﻓ
نﻣ
ﻣﻟا
ﺎﮭ
ﻲﺑرﻌﻟا
)
Oryx leuoryx
(
،
555
لازﻏ
ﻲﻣدﻷا
)
Gazella gazella
(
،
171
درﻓ
نﻣ
لازﻏ
مﯾرﻟا
Gazella
(
)
marica
،
نﺎﻧﺛا
نﻣ
بﻟﺎﻌﺛﻟا
ءارﻣﺣﻟا
)
Vulpes Vulpes arabica
(
،
ﺔﺛﻼﺛ
بﻧارأ
ﺔﯾرﺑ
)
Lepus capensis
(
،
18
رﺋﺎط
،يرﺎﺑﺣﻟا
ﺔﺗﺳ
نﻣ
روﺳﻧﻟا
ﺔﻓﺎﺿﻹﺎﺑ
ﻰﻟإ
ددﻋ
نﺎﻧﺛا
نﻣ
موﺑﻟا
وارﺣﺻﻟا
ي
)
Bubo ascalaphus
(
.
دﻘﻟو
ترﮭظأ
ﺔﺳاردﻟا
ةدﺎﯾز
رادﻘﻣﺑ
528
درﻓ
نﻣ
ﺎﮭﻣﻟا
ﻲﺑرﻌﻟا
ﺔﻧرﺎﻘﻣ
مﺎﻌﻟﺎﺑ
ﻲﺿﺎﻣﻟا
ﺎﻣﻣ
لدﯾ
ﻰﻠﻋ
ةدﺎﯾزﻟا
ةرﻣﺗﺳﻣﻟا
نﺎﻌطﻘﻟ
ﺎﮭﻣﻟا
ﻲﺑرﻌﻟا
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣﻟﺎﺑ
.
رﮭظ
نﺳﺣﺗ
رﯾﺑﻛ
ﻲﻓ
ةدوﺟ
تﺎﻧﺎﯾﺑﻟا
ﻲﺗﻟا
مﺗ
ﺎﮭﻌﯾﻣﺟﺗ
ﻲﻓ
كﻠﺗ
ﺔﻧﺳﻟا
ثﯾﺣ
مﺗ
ﺞﻣد
ﺔﻘﯾرط
ﻊﯾﻣﺟﺗ
تﺎﻧﺎﯾﺑﻟا
ةروﺻﺑ
ﺔﯾﺋاوﺷﻋ
ﻊﻣ
ﺔﻘﯾرط
ﻊﯾﻣﺟﺗ
تﺎﻧﺎﯾﺑﻟا
نﻋ
قﯾرط
طﺎﻘﻧﻟا
ﺔﯾرﺋادﻟا
ﺔﻧرﺎﻘﻣﻟﺎﺑو
ﻊﻣ
ﺞﺋﺎﺗﻧ
ﺔﺳاردﻟا
ﺔﯾﺿﺎﻣﻟا
ﺔﻧﺳﻟ
2017
م
ظﺣوﻟ
نأ
كﺎﻧھ
زﯾﻛرﺗ
ﻲﺳﯾﺋر
لازﻐﻠﻟ
ﻲﺑرﻌﻟا
ﻲﻓ
ءزﺟﻟا
يزﻛرﻣﻟا
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣﻠﻟ
ودﺑﯾو
نأ
كﻟذ
ﻊﺟرﯾ
فﯾﻛﺗﻠﻟ
ﻊﻣ
تﺎﺋﯾﺑﻟا
ﺔطﯾﺣﻣﻟا
نﻣ
عرازﻣ
ﺔﻣﯾدﻗ
ﻲﺗﻟاو
رﻓوﺗﯾ
ﺎﮭﺑ
دﯾزﻣﻟا
نﻣ
ﺎﻣﻟا
ء
ءاذﻐﻟاو
يوﺄﻣﻟاو
اذﮭﻟ
عوﻧﻟا
.
تداز
دادﻋأ
لﯾﺟﺳﺗ
لازﻏ
لﺎﻣرﻟا
ﺔﻧرﺎﻘﻣ
تادادﻌﺗﻟﺎﺑ
ﺔﻘﺑﺎﺳﻟا
رﺑﺗﻌﯾو
رﯾدﻘﺗﻟا
ﻲﻟﺎﺣﻟا
ﺎﻘﯾﻗد
ً
دادﻌﺗﻟ
لازﻐﻟا
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣﻟﺎﺑ
ﮫﺗﻧرﺎﻘﻣﺑ
نﯾﻧﺳﻟﺎﺑ
ﺔﯾﺿﺎﻣﻟا
ﻊﻣ
رارﻣﺗﺳا
زﯾﻛرﺗ
دﺟاوﺗﻟا
ﻲﻓ
سﻔﻧ
قطﺎﻧﻣﻟا
ﻲﺗﻟا
لﺟﺳ
ﺎﮭﺑ
لازﻏ
لﺎﻣرﻟا
ﻲﻓ
تاوﻧﺳﻟا
ﺔﯾﺿﺎﻣﻟا
.
يدأ
ارﻛﺗ
ر
ﻊﯾﻣﺟﺗ
تﺎﻧﺎﯾﺑ
تادھﺎﺷﻣو
ﻊﯾزوﺗ
تﺎﺗﺎﺑﻧﻟا
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣﻟﺎﺑ
لﺎﺛﻣ
رﺎﺟﺷﻷا
تارﯾﺟﺷﻟاو
ةرﯾﺑﻛﻟا
ﻲﻟا
لﯾﺟﺳﺗ
دادﻋأ
ﺎﻣ
برﻘﯾ
نﻣ
8,500
درﻓ
نﻣ
تﺎﺗﺎﺑﻧﻟا
نﻣ
لﻼﺧ
لﯾﺟﺳﺗ
تادھﺎﺷﻣﻟا
ﻲﻓ
ﻊﻗاوﻣﻟا
ﻲﺗﻟا
تدﻣﺗﻋا
ﺔﻘﯾرط
طﺎﻘﻧﻟا
ﺔﯾرﺋادﻟا
.
لازﺎﻣ
عوﻧﻟا
دﺋﺎﺳﻟا
وھ
ةرﯾﺟﺷ
خرﻣﻟا
)
Leptadenia pyrotechnica
(
دادﻋﺄﺑ
حوارﺗﺗ
ﻰﻟإ
)
8,131
ةرﯾﺟﺷ
(
،
رﺎﺟﺷأو
فﺎﻐﻟا
)
Procera cineria
) (
264
ةرﺟﺷ
(
،
رﺎﺟﺷأو
رﻣﺳﻟا
)
Acacia tortilis
) (
64
ةرﺟﺷ
(
،
ةرﯾﺟﺷو
رﺎﺷﻌﻟا
)
Calotropis procera
) (
31
ةرﺟﺷ
(
مﻟ
نﻛﯾ
ﻊﯾزوﺗﻟا
ﻊﻗوﺗﻣﻟا
تارﯾﺟﺷﻟ
خرﻣﻟا
رﺎﺷﻌﻟاو
ﺎﻘﯾﻗد
ﺎﻣﻛ
نﺎﻛ
ﻲﻓ
مﺎﻌﻟا
2017
م
ثﯾﺣ
نﺎﻛ
ددﻋ
قﯾرﻔﻟا
ارﯾﻐﺻ
ﺔﻧرﺎﻘﻣ
مﺎﻌﻟﺎﺑ
قﺑﺎﺳﻟا
.
رﮭظأ
ﺢﺳﻣﻟا
ررﻛﺗﻣﻟا
رﺎﻛوﻷ
بﻟﺎﻌﺛﻟا
ءارﻣﺣﻟا
مﺎﻋ
2018
م
ﺎﺿﺎﻔﺧﻧا
ﻲﻓ
ددﻋ
رﺎﻛوﻻا
ﺔطﺷﻧﻟا
ﺔﺑﺳﻧﺑ
54
%
ﺔﻧرﺎﻘﻣ
مﺎﻌﻟﺎﺑ
قﺑﺎﺳﻟا
ثﯾﺣ
مﺗ
ﻲﻠﺧﺗﻟا
نﻋ
17
رﻛو
ﺔﻌﺑﺳو
رﺎﻛوأ
تﺣﺑﺻأ
ةروﺟﮭﻣ
.
ﻊﻣ
،كﻟذ
مﺗ
لﯾﺟﺳﺗ
لوﺣﺗ
نﺎﻧﺛا
نﻣ
رﺎﻛوﻻا
ةروﺟﮭﻣﻟا
نﺎﻧﺛأو
نﻣ
ﺎﻛوﻻا
ر
رﯾﻐﻟا
ﺔطﺷﻧ
ﻰﻟإ
رﺎﻛوأ
ﺔطﺷﻧ
،ﺔﯾﻧﺎﺛ
نﻛﻣﯾ
نا
نوﻛﯾ
يدﺣأ
تارﯾﺳﻔﺗﻟا
ﺔﻠﻣﺗﺣﻣﻟا
كﻠﺗﻟ
ةرھﺎظﻟا
ﻲھ
ضﺎﻔﺧﻧا
ﻲﻓ
تادادﻣإ
ءاذﻐﻟا
نﻣ
ضراوﻘﻟا
تﺎﯾﯾدﺛﻟاو
ةرﯾﻐﺻﻟا
ﺎﻣو
بﺣﺎﺻﯾ
كﻟذ
نﻣ
ﻊﺳوﺗ
ﻲﻓ
تﺎﻗﺎطﻧ
ةرطﯾﺳﻟا
بﻟﺎﻌﺛﻠﻟ
ءارﻣﺣﻟا
.
نﻣ
رﯾﻏ
ﺢﺿاوﻟا
ﻲﻓ
كﻠﺗ
ﺔﻠﺣرﻣﻟا
ﻲھﺎﻣ
بﺎﺑﺳﻷا
ﺔﯾرذﺟﻟا
كﻠﺗﻟ
ﻟا
ةرھﺎظ
كﻟذﻟو
بﺟﯾ
نا
ﻊﺑﺗﯾ
كﻟذ
بﯾردﺗﻟا
فﺛﻛﻣﻟا
نﯾﻋوطﺗﻣﻠﻟ
نﯾﻣﺗﮭﻣﻟاو
نﺎﻣﺿﻟ
دﮭﺟ
زﯾﻣﻣ
ﻲﻓ
تﺎﯾﻠﻣﻋ
ﻊﯾﻣﺟﺗ
تﺎﻧﺎﯾﺑﻟا
ﻊﻣ
ﺔﺑﻗارﻣﻟا
ةرﻣﺗﺳﻣﻟا
رﺎﻛوﻷ
كﻠﺗ
بﻟﺎﻌﺛﻟا
ﺎﻣﻣ
دﻗ
لﻛﺷﯾ
اءزﺟ
نﻣ
تﻼﻣﺣﻟا
ﺔﯾﻋوطﺗﻟا
،ﺔﯾﻠﺑﻘﺗﺳﻣﻟا
نﻛﻣﯾ
نأ
نوﻛﯾ
ضﺎﻔﺧﻧﻻا
رﻣﺗﺳﻣﻟا
ﻲﻓ
دادﻋأ
رﺎﻛوأ
بﻟﺎﻌﺛﻟا
ارﺷؤﻣ
ﻰﻠﻋ
إ
ىدﺣ
تاددﮭﻣﻟا
ﻲﺗﻟا
رﺛؤﺗ
ﻰﻠﻋ
كﻠﺗ
تﺎﻧﺋﺎﻛﻟا
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣﻟﺎﺑ
ﺎﻣﻣ
بﻠطﺗﯾ
لﺧدﺗ
ةرادﻹا
يروﻔﻟا
.
مﺗ
بﺻﻧ
ثﻼﺛ
دﺋﺎﺻﻣ
ةدﻣﻟ
سﻣﺧ
لﺎﯾﻟ
ﺢﺑﺻﯾﻟ
عوﻣﺟﻣﻟا
15
ةدﯾﺻﻣ
لﻛﻟ
،ﺔﻠﯾﻟ
تﻘﻘﺣ
ﺞﺋﺎﺗﻧ
2018
م
ﺎﺣﺎﺟﻧ
رﺑﻛا
نﻣ
2017
م
ثﯾﺣ
مﺗ
ﺔظﺣﻼﻣ
رﺎﺛأ
مادﻗا
بﻠﻌﺛﻟا
رﻣﺣﻷا
طﻘﻟاو
يرﺑﻟا
ﻲﻓ
ﻊﯾﻣﺟ
ﻊﻗاوﻣ
،دﺋﺎﺻﻣﻟا
م
قﻼﻏإ
دﺋﺎﺻﻣﻟا
ثﻼﺛ
،تارﻣ
ﻲﻓ
لﺎﻣﺷ
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣﻟا
مﺗ
قﻼطإ
ةدﯾﺻﻣﻟا
مﻏرﻟﺎﺑ
نﻣ
مدﻋ
زﺎﺟﺗﺣا
يأ
ناوﯾﺣ
يرﺑ
نﻛﻟو
تدﺟو
ﺔﻟدأ
ﻰﻠﻋ
دوﺟو
بﻠﻌﺛﻟا
،رﻣﺣﻷا
ﻲﻓ
بوﻧﺟ
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣﻟا
مﺗ
قﻼطإ
ةدﯾﺻﻣﻟا
ﺎﮭﻠﺧادﺑو
طﻗ
لﺎﺿ
ﻲﻓ
ﺔﻠﯾﻠﻟا
،ﺔﯾﻧﺎﺛﻟا
ﺎﻣأ
ﺔﺑﺳﻧﻟﺎﺑ
ةدﯾﺻﻣﻠﻟ
ﺔﯾزﻛرﻣﻟا
مﺗ
دﺎﯾطﺻا
بﻠﻌﺛﻟا
رﻣﺣﻷا
رﻣ
نﯾﺗ
ﻲﻓ
ﺔﻠﯾﻠﻟا
ﻲﻟوﻷا
ﺔﻠﯾﻠﻟاو
ةرﯾﺧﻷا
.
نﻣ
نﯾﺑ
17
ارﯾﻣﺎﻛ
ﺔﺑﻗارﻣ
ةﺎﯾﺣﻠﻟ
،ﺔﯾرﺑﻟا
نﺎﻛ
كﺎﻧھ
ددﻋ
ثﻼﺛ
تارﯾﻣﺎﻛ
تﻠﺷﻓ
ﻲﻓ
طﺎﻘﺗﻟا
يأ
روﺻ
ةﺎﯾﺣﻠﻟ
ﺔﯾرﺑﻟا
.
ﻊﻣو
،كﻟذ
تﻧﺎﻛ
ﻊﯾﻣﺟ
تارﯾﻣﺎﻛﻟا
ﺔﻟﺎﻌﻓ
لاوط
ةرﺗﻓ
،ﺔﺳاردﻟا
ﻲﻟﺎﺗﻟﺎﺑو
مﺗ
بﺎﺳﺣ
ددﻋ
مﺎﯾﻷا
ﺎﻣﯾﻓ
قﻠﻌﺗﯾ
دوﮭﺟﺑ
دﯾﺎﺻﻣ
ارﯾﻣﺎﻛﻟا
ت
.
ﺞﺗﻧ
نﻋ
كﻟذ
ﺎﻣ
ﮫﻋوﻣﺟﻣ
85
ﺎﻣوﯾ
نﻣ
ﺔﺑﻗارﻣﻟا
تارﯾﻣﺎﻛﻟﺎﺑ
ثﯾﺣ
مﺗ
طﺎﻘﺗﻟا
ﻲﻟاوﺣ
4,581
ةروﺻ
ﺎﮭﻧﻣ
4,001
ةروﺻ
تﺎﻧﺋﺎﻛﻟ
ﺔﯾﺣ
.
نﺎﻛو
ددﻋ
3,084
نﻣ
كﻠﺗ
تادھﺎﺷﻣﻟا
تﺎﻧاوﯾﺣﻠﻟ
ةدوﺟوﻣﻟا
ﺔﻌﯾﺑطﻟﺎﺑ
ددﻋو
1,988
ةروﺻ
رﺷﺑﻟ
وأ
تﺎﺑﻛرﻣ
تﻠﻣﺷو
كﻠﺗ
تادھﺎﺷﻣﻟا
تارﯾﻣﺎﻛﺑ
ﺔﺑﻗارﻣﻟا
ﺔﻌﺑرأ
رﺷﻋ
وﻧ
ﺎﻋ
ً
نﻣ
عاوﻧأ
ةﺎﯾﺣﻟا
ﺔﯾرﺑﻟا
.
مﺗ
لﯾﺟﺳﺗ
ددﻋ
ﺔﻌﺳﺗ
عاوﻧأ
نﻣ
روﯾطﻟا
ﺎﮭﻧﻣو
134
نﻣ
روﺳﻧﻟا
ﺔﯾﺑﺎﻘﻌﻟا
ثﯾﺣ
رﺑﺗﻌﺗ
نﻣ
تادھﺎﺷﻣﻟا
ةردﺎﻧﻟا
ﻲﻓ
تارﺎﻣﻻا
ﺔﯾﺑرﻌﻟا
ةدﺣﺗﻣﻟا
.
رﺑﺗﻌﯾ
ﺎﮭﻣﻟا
ﻲﺑرﻌﻟا
نﻣ
رﺛﻛأ
عاوﻧﻷا
ةرﻓو
ارﺎﺷﺗﻧاو
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣﻟﺎﺑ
ثﯾﺣ
مﺗ
لﯾﺟﺳﺗ
2,194
ةروﺻ
ﺎﮭﻣﻠﻟ
ﻲﺑرﻌﻟا
نﻣ
لﻼﺧ
ﺷﻋ
ر
نﻣ
دﺋﺎﺻﻣ
تارﯾﻣﺎﻛﻟا
ﻲﺗﻟاو
ﺎﮭﻋوﻣﺟﻣ
ﺔﻌﺑﺳ
رﺷﻋ
.
مﺗ
لﯾﺟﺳﺗ
ددﻋ
330
نﻣ
مﺎﻣﺣﻟا
يرﺑﻟا
طﻘﻓ
ﻲﻓ
ارﯾﻣﺎﻛﻟا
مﻗر
19
.
نﻣ
عاوﻧﻷا
ﺔﻓدﮭﺗﺳﻣﻟا
ﺔﺳاردﻟﺎﺑ
مﺗ
لﯾﺟﺳﺗ
ددﻋ
258
لازﻏ
ﻲﺑرﻋ
ﻲﻓ
ﻊﺳﺗ
تارﯾﻣﺎﻛ
و
18
لازﻏ
ﻲﻠﻣر
نﻣ
ثﻼﺛ
،تارﯾﻣﺎﻛ
13
بﻠﻌﺛ
رﻣﺣأ
نﻣ
ثﻼﺛ
تارﯾﻣﺎﻛ
كﻟذﻛو
5
بﻧارا
ﺔﯾرﺑ
نﻣ
ارﯾﻣﺎﻛ
ةدﺣاو
.
مﻟ
مﺗﯾ
لﯾﺟﺳﺗ
يأ
ططﻗ
وا
بﻟﺎﻌﺛ
لﺎﻣرﻟا
وا
ططﻘﻟا
نودروﺟ
ﺔﯾرﺑﻟا
ﺔطﺳاوﺑ
دﺋﺎﺻﻣ
تارﯾﻣﺎﻛﻟا
.
ﻲﻓ
مﺎﻋ
2017
،
تﻘﻠﺗ
ةرادإ
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣ
ﻲﺑد
ﺔﯾوارﺣﺻﻟا
ﺔﻘﻓاوﻣﻟا
ﺔﯾﺋدﺑﻣﻟا
ﻰﻠﻋ
لﻘﻧ
ﺎﮭﻣﻟا
ﻲﺑرﻌﻟا
نﻣ
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣﻟا
ﻰﻟإ
قطﺎﻧﻣ
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣ
ىرﺧأ
لﺧاد
ﺔﻘطﻧﻣ
برﻏ
ﺎﯾﺳأ
لﺎﻣﺷو
ﺎﯾﻘﯾرﻓا
.
نﺎﻛ
نﻣ
ا
لوﻣﺄﻣﻟ
نأ
فﻔﺧﯾ
اذھ
نﻣ
ضﻌﺑ
طوﻐﺿﻟا
ﺔﺟﺗﺎﻧﻟا
نﻋ
ةدﺎﯾزﻟا
ﻲﻓ
دادﻋأ
ﺎﮭﻣﻟا
ﻲﺑرﻌﻟا
.
موﻘﺗ
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣ
ﻲﺑد
ﺔﯾوارﺣﺻﻟا
ﺎﯾﻟﺎﺣ
ذﯾﻔﻧﺗﺑ
عورﺷﻣ
ﻲﺛﺣﺑ
لﯾﻠﺣﺗﻟ
نﯾوﻛﺗﻟا
ﻲﺛاروﻟا
نﺎﻌطﻘﻟ
ﺎﮭﻣﻟا
ﻲﺑرﻌﻟا
لﻛﺷﺑ
لﺿﻓأ
.
مﻏرﻟﺎﺑ
نﻣ
نأ
فدھ
ﺔﯾﻣﺣﻣ
ﻲﺑد
ﺔﯾوارﺣﺻﻟا
ﻲﺳﺎﺳﻷا
نﻣ
ةرادإ
نﺎﻌطﻗ
ﺎﮭﻣﻟا
نﻻزﻐﻟاو
ھ
و
لﯾﻠﻘﺗ
دادﻋﻻا
رﺑﺗﻌﯾو
نﻣ
تﺎﯾوﻟوﻷا
ﺔﯾرورﺿﻟا
نﺈﻓ
تﻻوﺎﺣﻣ
ةدﺎﻋإ
لﺎﺧدإ
سرﺗﻔﻣ
ﻲﺳﯾﺋر
ةدﺎﻌﺗﺳﻻ
نزاوﺗﻟا
ﻲﺋﯾﺑﻟا
ﻲﻌﯾﺑطﻟا
ةرﻣﺗﺳﻣ
ﻲﻠﻋ
لﻣأ
لوﺻوﻟا
لﺣﻟ
لوﺑﻘﻣ
ﺎﯾﻋﺎﻣﺗﺟا
4
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
C
o
ntents
Abstrac
t
2
ﻰﺑرﻌﻟا صﺧﻠﻣﻟا
3
Contents
4
1. Expedition r
eview
5
1.1. Background
5
1.2. Research a
rea
5
1.3. Dates
6
1.4. Local conditions & s
upport
6
1.5.
S
cientist
7
1.6. Expedition l
eader
8
1.7. Expedition t
eam
8
1.8
. Partners
8
1.
9
. Acknowledgements
8
1
.1
0
. Further i
nfo
rmation & e
nquiries
8
1.
1
1
. Expedition b
udget
9
2.
Desert species surveys
1
0
2.1. Introduction
and background
1
0
2.2.
Methods
1
4
2.3. Results
1
7
2.4
.
Discussion
and conclusions
3
0
2.5
.
Literature cited
3
2
Appendix
1
: Expedition diary & reports
3
3
5
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Please note: Each expedition report is written as a stand
-
alone document that can be read
without having to refer back to previous reports. As such, much of this section, which
remains valid and relevant, is a repetition from previous reports, co
pied here to provide the
reader with an uninterrupted flow of argument and rationale.
1.
Expedition
r
eview
M. Hammer
Biosphere Expeditions
1.1. Background
Biosphere Expeditions runs wildlife conservation research expeditions to all corners of the
Earth
. Our projects are not tours, photographic safaris or excursions, but genuine research
expeditions placing ordinary people with no research experience alongside scientists who
are at the forefront of conservation work. Our expeditions are open to all and t
here are no
special skills (scientific or otherwise) required to join. Our expedition team members are
people from all walks of life, of all ages, looking for an adventure with a conscience and a
sense of purpose. More information about Biosphere Expeditio
ns and its research
expeditions can be found at
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org
.
This expedition report deals with an expedition to the United Arab Emirates that ran from
20
27 January 2018 with the a
im of assisting scientists of the Dubai Desert Conservation
Reserve (DDCR) to gather scientific data
on
Arabian oryx, Gordon’s wildcat, mountain and
sand gazelle and
Arabian red fox
in order to gain a better understanding of their ecology
so that informed
management decisions can be made. Arabian oryx and Gordon’s wildcat
are on the IUCN Red List and the expedition’s work will help to ensure the survival of the
species in the wild. In gaining a better understanding of the Arabian oryx and Gordon’s
wildcat,
through observations on their movements, habitat and food preferences and
through their interaction with other species, this project is able to ascertain what the major
threats are to their continued survival. Based on this, project scientists can then dev
elop
appropriate management plans that will provide a safe environment for the study species
to thrive in.
1.2. Research area
The DDCR is an area of 225 km² that comprises 4.7% of Dubai’s land area. Conservation
in this area started in 1999 when the Al M
aha Desert Resort was opened within a
protected area of 27 km² (Al Maha Reserve). One of the first conservation actions of the
reserve was a wildlife reintr
oduction programme for Arabian o
ryx and the two indigenous
gazelle species (sand
and
mountain gazell
e
), as well as programmes for the protection of
other key components of the ecosystem, in particular the vegetation (close to 6
,
000
indigenous trees were planted in 1999 to create a natural seed bank which has now led to
germination of indigenous plants).
In 2001
,
the resort management began a major
environmental audit of the surrounding area. Following this audit a proposal was submitted
to the Dubai government
for
the formation of a formal national park. The proposal was
accepted and sanctioned almost imm
ediately
,
and work began on protecting the area
that
would
be known as the
DDCR
.
6
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Figure 1.2a.
Flag and location of United Arab Emirates
and study site.
An overview of Biosphere Expeditions’ research sites,
assembly points, base camp and office loca
tions is at
Google Maps
.
Today the DDCR is representative of the Dubai inland d
esert ecosystem and is
characterised by a sandy desert environment consisting of sand dunes interspersed with
gravel plains. There is one rocky outcrop in the north of the reserve, which provides
nesting sites for the desert eagle owl and two groves of rar
e Ghaf trees (
Prosopis
cineraria
). The Al Maha Reserve (27 km²) was the core area for the reintroduction of the
Arabian oryx, mountain gazelle and sand gazelle. Currently the DDCR contains
approximately 450 Arabian oryx from the 100 that were originally re
introduced in 1999.
Both the Arabian oryx and the gazelle species have expanded
within
the DDCR naturally
as the amount of human activity has decreased and been controlled.
Mountain
and sand
gazelle can now be seen throughout the DDCR.
1.3. Dates
The e
xpedition
ran from 20
-
27 January
2018 and was
composed of a team of
international research assistants, guides, support personnel and an expedition leader (see
below for team details).
1.4. Local conditions & support
Expedition base
The expedition
fiel
d base
was composed of
a Bedu style tent camp
(a Bedu mess tent
,
a
modern one and two
-
person dome tents for sleeping in)
. Each person
had their
own dome
tent to sleep
in (larger tents for couples) and there were campsite
-
style showers and
toilets
.
A
ll meal
s were provided by a catering company.
7
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Weather
The UAE has a subtropical, arid climate with sunny blue skies most of the year. Over the
eight days of the expedition the weather
was overcast most mornings, clearing up to the
usual cloudless sky later in t
he day.
Field communications
There was an (emergency) telephone close to base and mobile phones largely worked in
and around camp
,
and around the study site. In the field, two
-
way radios and mobile
phones were used for communication between research tea
ms.
The expedition leader also posted an expedition diary on
Biosphere Expeditions’ social
media sites
.
Transport and vehicles
Team members made their own way to the Dubai assembly point in ti
me. From there
onwards and back to the assembly point all transport and vehicles were provided
f
or the
expedition team, for expedition support and emergency evacuations.
Medical
The expedition leader was a trained first aider, and the expedition carried
a
comprehensive medical kit.
A network of first
-
rate private and government hospitals in
Dubai provided further medical support.
Safety and emergency procedures were in place.
There were no medical
or other
incidences during the expedition and none of the
medical
support network or safety procedures were called upon.
1.5.
S
cientist
Greg Simkins is
South African by birth
and has worked in the field of conservation and
protected areas management since 2001. Greg began his career as a field guide in 1999.
I
n 2001
,
he became a Reserve Officer in the
area that later became the
DDCR
,
and was
heavily involved in the planning and implementation of eco
-
tourism activities within the
protected area, which was created in 2003. In 2003
,
Greg took on his current role a
nd was
appointed Conservation Manager for the DDCR. He is now responsible for the overall
management of the
r
eserve and has been at the forefront of its development from
conception in 2003 to its current international recognition. He also plays a major rol
e in
conducting key conservation research studies throughout the DDCR. Prior to coming to
the Middle East, Greg studied at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg in Kwazulu
-
Natal, where he also did graduate work, including resource assessment and alloca
tion for
a farm, soil surveys and research at an ostrich export farm in the Eastern Cape.
8
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
1.6. Expedition l
eader
Malika Fettak is half Algerian, but was born and educated in Germany. She majored in
Marketing & Communications and worked for more than a d
ecade in the creative
department, but also in PR & marketing of a publishing company. Her love of nature,
travelling and the outdoors (and taking part in a couple of Biosphere expeditions) showed
her that a change of direction was in order. Joining Biosphe
re Expeditions in 2008, she
runs the German
-
speaking operations and the German office
,
and leads expeditions all
over the world whenever she can. She has travelled extensively, is multilingual, a qualified
off
-
road driver, diver, outdoor first aider, and a
keen sportswoman.
1.7. Expeditio
n t
eam
The expedition team was recruited by Biosphere Expeditions and consisted of a mixture of
all ages, nationalities and backgrounds. They were (
in alphabetical order and
with
countries of residence):
Rick Allain (UK),
Catherine Capon (UK, blogger for part of the
expedition), Dirk Lansch (Germany), Anjum Misbahuddin (UK), Mary Spratt (UK), Andrew
Trace (UK, cameraman), Toby Whaley (Germany)
. Also assistant expedition leader Paul
Franklin (UK).
1.8
.
P
artners
The main
partner on this expedition is the Dubai Conservation Board, a government
-
appointed organisation concerned with the conservation and protection of the Dubai inland
desert. Other partners include the National Avian Research Centre.
1.9
. Acknowledgements
T
his study was conducted by Biosphere Expeditions, which runs wildlife conservation
expeditions all over the globe. Without our expedition team members (listed above) who
provided an expedition contribution and gave up their spare time to work as research
a
ssistants, none of this research would have been possible. The support team and staff
(also mentioned above) were central to making it all work on the ground. Biosphere
Expeditions would also like to thank
the DDCR and its staff,
and the Friends of Biosphe
re
Expeditions for their sponsorship and/or in
-
kind support.
Finally thank you to Andy Trace
for making a
great video
of his experience.
1.10. Further information & e
nquiries
More background information on Bi
osphere Expeditions in general and on this expedition
in particular including pictures, diary excerpts and a copy of this report can be found on the
Biosphere Expeditions website
www.biosphere
-
expedition
s.org
.
Copies of this and other expedition reports can
be accessed via
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org/reports
.
Enquires should be addressed to Biosphere Expeditions
via
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org/offices
.
9
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
1.11
. Expedition Budget
Each team member paid towards expedition costs a contr
ibution of
1,87
0
for the
seven
-
day
expedition
. The contribution covered accommodation and meals, supervision and
induction, all maps and special non
-
personal equipment,
and
all transport from and to the
team assembly point. It did not cover excess luggage
charges, travel insurance, personal
expenses such as telephone bills, souvenirs, etc., as well as visa
s
and other travel
expenses to and from the assembly point (e.g. international flights). Details on how these
contributions were spent are given below.
Income
Expedition contributions
9
,063
Expenditure
Staff
includes local & international salaries, travel and expenses
2,734
Research
includes
equipment
and other research expenses
432
Transport
includes
car hire,
fuel,
taxis and other local transpo
rt
1,
692
Base
includes
food and camping fees
997
M
iscellaneous
includes
l
ocal sundries and fees
40
Team recruitment
Arabia
as estimated % of PR costs for Biosphere Expeditions
8
,676
Income
Expenditure
-
5
,
508
Total percentage spent directly on project
1
6
1
%
*
*This means that in 201
8
, the e
xpedition ran at a loss and was supported over and above the
income from the expedition contributions and grants by Biosphere Expeditions.
10
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Please note: Each expedition report is written as a stand
-
alone document that can be read
without having to refer
back to previous reports. As such, much of this section, which
remains valid and relevant, is a repetition from previous reports, copied here to provide the
reader with an uninterrupted flow of argument and rationale.
2.
D
esert species
surveys
2.1. Intr
oduction and background
The United Arab Emirates, and Dubai in particular, is well known for its rapid development
over the past 40 years
,
as well as for the mega
-
construction projects such as the Palm
Islands and the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest bui
lding). Less well known is the diversity
and beauty of the natural environment, from the dugongs and corals in the Arabian Sea,
the flamingos in the khors (inlets) of the coastline, the rugged Hajar mountain range, to the
serene splendour of the sandy dune
inland desert. Also little known is that the largest
piece of land given to any single project in Dubai was for the establishment of the Dubai
Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR)
,
at 225 km² or
4.7% of Dubai’s total land area.
Previous work 2012
20
1
7
Biosphere Expeditions and the DDCR first considered working together in 2011 and the
first joint expedition was run in 2012 in what has become an annual survey expedition
each January.
The aim
in
2012
(Bell et al. 2013a)
was to conduct the first syste
matic survey of Arabian
oryx (
Oryx leucoryx
) and Gordon’s wildcat (
Felis silvestris gordoni
) in the DDCR
. This was
achieved through three main survey activities: Gordon’s wildcat live capture survey and
camera trapping as well as Arabian oryx monitoring. I
n addition
,
the expedition team
recorded any other species observation or encounters while in the field.
The live capture survey of 48 trap nights resulted in one capture of a feral hybrid cat. The
camera traps recorded 316 pictures over 56 camera days a
t a capture rate of 2.46
per
day
. Fourteen oryx herds
were
surveyed, which gave a male:female sex ratio of 2:3 and
an average condition score of 2.81. In conjunction with the camera trap and Arabian oryx
monitoring data, the species encounters data provide
d a snapshot of species distribution
and diversity, which serve
d
as a comparative baseline for future expeditions data.
In
2013
(Bell et al. 2013b), s
pecies studied included the Arabian oryx (classified by IUCN
as vulnerable
)
, other antelope species (sand
and mountain gazelle,
Gazella
marica
and
Gazella gazella
), Gordon’s wildcat as well as some major bird and reptile species.
A grid
methodology was adopted and f
orty
-
two grids 2 x 2 km in size
were surveyed within the
225 km
2
area of the DDCR
. Sample metho
ds included encounter surveys, camera and live
trapping and body scoring (for oryx). It was found that mountain gazelle (87 encounters),
sand gazelle (26 encounters), Arabian red fox
(
Vulpes vulpes arabica
)
(24 camera trap
pictures) and Arabian oryx were c
ommon throughout most of the study area. Gordon’s
wildcat was not documented by camera or live traps, but only by tracks, which can be
misidentified. Because of this result, the DDCR
made
plans to enhanc
e the population
through the re
introduction of geneti
cally pure, captive bred, Gordon’s wildcat.
11
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
The body condition scoring for oryx revealed malnutrition
,
and supplementary feeding was
increased by DDCR management. The expedition found that
the
oryx distribution had
largely shifted to the north of the res
erve as a result of a sustained drought, but a few
hardy and now largely independent herds persisted in the south. Sand gazelle populations
shifted northwards within the reserve as a result of expanding populations needing to
establish new, if less favoura
ble territories. Nine lappet
-
faced vultures (
Torgos
tracheliotos
)
, rare in the UAE
were recorded, showing that the DDCR is likely to be the
best habitat for this species in the UAE.
In
2014
(Bell & Hammer 2014), c
itizen scientists collected data on nine
target species,
namely the Arabian oryx, Gordon’s wildcat, mountain gazelle, sand gazelle, Arabian red
fox, sand fox (
Vulpes rueppellii
), Mac
Q
ueen’s bustard (
Chlamydotis macqueenii
), lappet
-
faced vulture and
p
haraoh eagle owl (
Bubo ascalaphus
). Data gather
ed alerted the DDCR
management to several conservation issues and also allowed for informed, fact
-
based
management decisions to be made
,
in a showcase of how the work of citizen scientist
volunteers can aid the efforts of conservation professionals.
The
expedition body
-
scored 278 Arabian oryx for herd health again, resulting in an
average score of 2.9, which is just below the fit and healthy score of 3.0.
After the feed
increase based on the 2013 expedition results, t
his
was
a highly satisfactory managem
ent
result.
A total of 206 mountain gazelles and 159 sand gazelles were counted during the
expedition. Since the majority of these
were
likely to
have been
separate individuals, the
numbers found for both species
were considered to be
alarmingly high. It
was
evident that
under current conditions the reserve
could not
sustain the present oryx and gazelle
populations without significant supplementary feeding. Furthermore, previous vegetation
surveys
showed
that the DDCR vegetation
was
already showing clear s
igns of
overgrazing. Therefore
,
the expedition concluded that
a major management
requirement
was
the establishment of a gazelle
-
carrying capacity for the DDCR, as well as self
-
sustaining control measures. Such control measures may include the removal of an
telopes
from the reserve through translocation and the introduction of an apex predator such as
the Arabian wolf or hyaena to apply top
-
down pressure to the antelope populations.
There were no live captures of Gordon’s wildcats or feral cats during this e
xpedition and
no Gordon’s wildcats were photographed by camera traps. However, there was a possible
presence observed during the expedition in terms of tracks.
The expedition concluded that
it
is difficult to assess whether the DDCR’s Gordon’s wildcat popu
lation is stable,
increasing or declining
,
and more trapping is needed to assess this. Major threats to the
Gordon’s wildcat in the DDCR
were
likely to be the availability of food, as well as
hybridisation with feral cats.
A rare sand fox was caught by t
he expedition for the first time in the history of the DDCR,
As a result of this capture,
it was concluded that
further expeditions
should
start targeting
this species in an attempt to obtain more information about it.
Population modelling using the IDW (
Inverse Distance Weighted Interpolation) and
diversity indices methods show
ed
distributions in accordance with feed points and habitat
preferences.
12
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Oryx populations
were found to be
concentrated around the feed points, as
were
gazelles.
Mountain gazelle d
istribution
was found to follow
their preferred stony/rocky habitat
distribution.
The Mac
Q
ueen’s bustard population
was found to be
small and very confined to specific
areas of the DDCR. A small increase in numbers
was
noticed. The lappet
-
faced vulture
was
seen fairly regularly as there is a good food source
in
the DDCR for them. The goal
for both species is to have them breed in the reserve in
the
future. Pharaoh eagle owl
was
a concern and numbers
appeared to be
on the decline, probably due to the scar
city of rain
over the past few years, which affected the vegetation and thereby rodents, which are the
owl’s primary food source.
In
2015
(Bell & Hammer 2015), c
itizen scientists
continued to
collected data on
the
nine
target species
of 2014 (see above)
.
258 oryx were counted in the reserve, most of them likely to be separate individuals. Oryx
dis
tribution in the reserve followed
artificial feeding points. However, there
were found to
be
too many oryx in the reserve and
it was recommended that
their nu
mbers be reduced,
amongst other things
,
in order to discontinue artificial feeding, which is not in line with the
DDCR’s goal of non
-
interference in the reserve.
The expedition report argued that t
his
reduction in numbers
could
be achieved through natural
processes by introducing a top
predator (most likely the Arabian wolf) into the reserve as soon as fence upgrades
were
completed.
At 218 individuals counted, the mountain gazelle
was
at healthy population
levels. Its
distribution followed
habitat prefere
nce of vegetated dunes and areas of high vegetation
and water around the Al Maha resort.
The sand gazelle population
was found to have grown,
success
fully expanding in the
reserve and
showing new distribution hotspots that mirror
ed
its preferred vegetate
d sand
dune habitats. Only 37
gazelles
were counted by the expedition, but this
was
a reflection
of expedition participants being busy with many other tasks.
Gordon’s wildcats and sand foxes continue
d
to be rare and elusive, with no live or camera
captur
es
in 2015
. This is in contrast to
the Arabian
red fox, which
was
abundant,
dominating camera captures alongside oryx.
Pharaoh eagle owls
were found again to be
in decline, probably due to low rodent prey
availability because of a prolonged drought, and
due to the abundance of red fox, which
prey on the owl’s ground nests. This
was found to be
a concern, which needs to be
addressed by management.
The Mac
Q
ueen’s bustard population
was found to
be small
again
with low nesting
incidences and success, despit
e favourable conditions. The reasons for this may be
another area for
future
expedition
s
to investigate.
The lappet
-
faced vulture
was found to have
gone from rare to abundant and the DDCR is
now the best place in Dubai to observe vultures. However, no n
esting
was
observed,
despite favourable conditions. This conundrum
was suggested to
be another area for
future expedition investigation.
13
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-
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-
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gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
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's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
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f Nature
A limited pilot rodent trapping effort in one habitat, yielding 13 individuals of one species
(Cheesman’s gerb
il
Gerbi
l
lus cheesmani
), suggested
that the rodent population
had
not
suffered greatly from the drought
conditions
and abundance of red foxes. This finding
was
in contrast to the pharaoh eagle owl
decline, which suggested
a decline in the rodent
population.
It was
argued that r
odent trapping efforts
should
be expanded during future
expeditions to capture more species in a larger variety of habitats in order to corroborate
or disprove the
owl
decline hypothesis.
In
2016
(Simkins et al. 2016), the
expedition observed
498 Arabian oryx, 181 mountain
gazelle,
71 sand gazelle, 38 lappet
-
faced vultures, 8 M
a
c
Q
ueen’s bustards, 2 red fox, 1
Arabian hare (
Lepus capensis
)
and 1 p
haraoh eagle owl.
An
improved survey
methodology of circular observations within each quadrant sign
ificantly improved data
quality, thereby improving predicted species distributions.
Live trapping was carried out for small
-
(rodents) and medium
-
(wildcat and fox) sized
mammals over a trapping effort of 72 and 83 trapping nights
,
respectively. Trapping
success was very low, with only three Cheesman’s gerbils captured.
The red fox den survey revisited 161 den sites and identified seven new dens. In the five
-
year period between surveys, the number of active dens has not decreased significantly,
although
only 34% of den status
es
remained the same as in 2011. Twenty
-
five inactive
dens became active and 24 active dens became inactive. Only 18% of active dens were
abandoned, whereas 47% of inactive dens were abandoned.
C
amera traps
(unbaited in 2016)
captu
re
d
12 Arabian oryx, 4 Arabian Gazelle and 1
Arabian hare.
The expedition survey results since 2012
showed
an increase
in
all the reserve’s ungulate
species and the management of the DDCR is well aware that in order to achieve the
stated aim of herd self
-
sustainability, the size of the ungulate populations will have to
match the carrying capacity
for
ungulates
of
the DDCR as provided by the natural
vegetation. A long
-
term study to determine the carrying capacity of the reserve
is ongoing
.
In 2016, DDCR ma
nagement suspected
that the population
levels exceeded
carrying
capacity, especially during extended dry periods.
Control measures
that were
considered
consisted of a
com
bination of an apex predator reintroduction,
and
species re
location and
utilis
ation.
In
2017
Simkins & Hammer (2018)
o
bserved the following target species during a
qu
adrant survey: 345 Arabian oryx, 360 mountain gazelle
,
69 sand gazelle
, 2
Arabian
red
fox, 5 Arabian hare
and 3 pharaoh eagle owl.
In 2017 for
the first time
the expedition
co
llected data on the distribution of vegetation, in particular large shrubs and trees. Nearly
10,000 plants were counted during the circular observations. The dominant species
were
fire bus
h
(8,88
8), the congregated ghaf trees
(823), date palms
(140) and th
e more wi
dely
distributed Sodom’s apple
(112). Predicted distrib
ution of the two shrub species
have
provided the DDCR management with the most accurate picture to date of the distribution
of these two indicator species
within
the reserve’s habitat.
The 20
17 survey of red
fox dens
showed a 59% reduction in the number of active dens,
most of which were abandoned, and a 25% reduction in inactive dens, of which only two
dens became active.
14
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-
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-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
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's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
There were, however, 44 new den sites (14 active, 21 inactive and nine
abandoned)
discovered in 2017 compared to only seven new sites found in 2016. Continued monitoring
of all den locations is recommended on future expeditions. The Arabian red fox will need to
be closely monitored due to the sudden reduction in active dens.
Of the 18 camera traps set, there were two traps that failed to produce any meaningful
photographs.
A
total of 76 trapping days captured 4,064 images
,
of which 3,312 were live
images; 2,363 of these contained naturally occurring fauna and 713 contained h
umans or
vehicles. This included seven photos of the nocturnal Arabian hare and over 270 records
of the Arabian red fox. However, the rare and cryptic species within the DDCR, namely
Gordon’s wildcat and sand fox, were once again not recorded.
Background
on species under investigation
Simkins & Hammer (2018) and expedition reports prior to this have detailed descriptions of
the background
of
species under investigation, which are the
Arabian oryx
(
Oryx leucoryx
)
,
Gordon’s wildcat
(
Felis silvestris gordoni
)
,
Arabian or m
ountain gazelle
(
Gazella gazella
)
,
sand gazelle
(
Gazella
marica
)
,
Arabian red fox
(
Vulpes vulpes
Arabica
),
san
d
fox
(
Vulpes
rueppellii
),
M
acQu
een’s b
ustard
(
Chlamydotis macqueenii
)
,
l
appet
-
faced v
ulture
(
Torgos
tracheliotos
)
and
pharaoh
eagl
e
o
wl
(
Bubo ascalaphus
)
.
2.2. Methods
Ex
pedition participants assisted DDCR s
cientists in
four
importan
t surveys: live trapping
(targeting Gordon’s wildcat and both fox species), the fox den survey, camera t
rapping
and
ungulate monitoring (Arabian oryx,
Arabian gazelle, sand gazelle). In addition to these
surveys, participants
were
t
asked to record any
species observed while in the field.
After a training period that lasted one and a half days,
participants
were split into
four
groups to condu
ct the vari
ous surveys, in four separate zones of the DDCR, namely a
North Z
one,
Central Zone, South
Zone
and Perimeter Zone (see Figure 2.2a)
. Each zone
comprised
f
if
teen
2 x 2 km
quadrants
, the perimeter zone comprised of 17 partial
quadrants
.
These 62 quadrants to
gether represented approximately 214 km² of the 225
km² of the DDCR (or 95%). The
area include
d all key habitats of
vegetated dunes, sand
dunes and gravel plains.
Every
day
each
group
of
expedition participants was tasked to survey four quadrants or
appro
ximately 16 km². A total of 62 quadrants (214 km²) were surveyed in this way during
the expedition. During
surveys any
target species encounters were
recorded
in the
relevant datasheets.
Target species quadrant survey
This involved the selection of one
observation point within 300 m of the centre of the
quadrant, which provided a good vantage point. From this vantage point a 360º circular
observation of the surrounding area was carried out by four participants with binoculars for
30 minutes.
15
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Figure
2.2a.
The DDCR and its survey zones (North = green, Central = red, South = yellow).
The perimeter zone comprises all other zones within the DDCR.
16
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Target species as described above and encountered during these surveys were recorded
in the datasheets as fo
llows: species name, position of researcher when the species was
first seen, distance and bearing from researcher to target species, time of day when the
species was observed, ecological information such as number of animals, sexes etc.,
and
additional com
ments. In addition, for the first time on this project, trees and large shrubs
were counted as well.
During analysis, IDW (Inverse Distance Weighted Interpolation) was used to predict the
value (abundance and distribution of species sampled at each cell
=
quadrant
) of cells at
locations that lack sampled points (ESRI 2012). Inverse distance weighted methods
determine cell values using a linear
-
weighted combination set of sampling points and are
based on the assumption that the interpolating surface should
be influenced mostly by the
nearby points and less by the more distant points. The interpolating surface is a weighted
average of the scatter points, and the weight assigned to each scatter point diminishes as
the distance from the interpolation point to t
he scatter point increases. Abundance counts
over the study area were used as input and predictions were applied to all the species
recorded using ESRI
®
Arc Map 10.0 spatial analyst extensions.
Live
traps
for medium
-
sized animals
Three
Tomahawk live traps
were used during the expedition for the purpose of capturing
Gordon’s wildcat. At the beginning of the expedition, each survey group was given a live
trap to place within their allocated zones (North, South, Centr
al zones). Each group
marked the position of the live trap in the GPS. The live traps were baited with tinned
sardines and left out in the field for five nights, resulting in a total of
15
trap nights. The bait
was placed right at the back of the trap (usi
ng an extendable reacher/grabber), forcing the
animal to step onto a pressure plate to trigger the trap. The pressure plate was covered
with sand to give the trap a more natural feel and to ensure that the target species was at
ease when entering the trap.
Each morning groups set out into their zones to check each of their live traps. This
involved checking the surroundings of the traps for a possible presence/absence record
from tracks around the trap, to see if the trap had been disturbed or investigated
by a
Gordon’s wildcat or a feral cat. Where necessary, traps were rebaited.
Arabian red fox den survey
The Arabian red fox is the largest predator within the DDCR, so it is important to monitor
its population. The red fox is both a nocturnal and cryptic
species, so direct counts are
unreliable. A better method of monitoring the population is through a count of their dens.
This was initially done by DDCR staff in 2011 and then repeated in 2016 with the help of
Biosphere Expeditions
,
when all dens were cla
ssified as either active, inactive or
abandoned based on signs of fox activity such as tracks, fresh digging, prey remains and
fresh scat.
During the 201
8
exped
ition all dens sites were re
visited and once again classified based
on signs of fox activity
,
w
ith an additional classification of abandoned when the den had
filled in with sand. In addition
,
any new dens found were recorded and classified.
The
density estimates of
r
ed
f
ox dens in the DDCR
were
then
calculated using ArcGIS
softw
are tools based on Ke
rnel density estimates
17
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Camera trapping
As many species in the desert environment are both nocturnal and elusive, it is difficult
to
gather reliable information on their populations. A camera trap triggers when an animal
passes in front of an infrared a
nd/or motion detector. This has the advantage of detecting
with equal efficiency both nocturnal and diurnal activities with minimal e
nvironmental
disturbance.
Seventeen camera traps (three
Reconyx
RC60, five
Recony
x
Hyperfire and nine
Bushnell
Trophy Cam HD) were used during the expedition
and distributed across the
four zones
Predetermined quadrants in each of the zones were chosen for the
survey groups to set
their camera traps in, close to water sources. Once again, the traps were not baited (as
this tended to attract red foxes, probably keep
ing Gordon’s wildcats away as a result) and
left out in the field for five days, resulting in pote
ntially 85 trap nights.
2.3
. Results
Species encounters
Table 2.3a
Species encountered during the expedition.
Encounter method S = sighting, L = live trap,
C= camera trap.
Common name
Latin name
Birds
Grey francolin S
Francolinus pondicenanus
E
gyptian goose S
Alopochen aegyptiaca
Gadwall S
Ana strepera
Garganey S
Anas querquedula
Great cormorant S
P
h
alacrocorax carbo
Cinverous
vulture C
Aegypius monachus
Lappet
-
faced vulture
T
o
r
gos
trachieliotos
Pallid harrier S
Ci
rcus macrourus
Long
-
legged buzzard S
C
Buteo rufinus
Greater spotted eagle S
Aquila danga
Lesser
kestrel S
Falco
naumanni
Common kestrel S
Falco tinnuncul
us
Mac
Q
ueen’s bustard S
Chlamydotis macqueenii
Red
-
wattled lapwing S C
Vanellus indicus
Comm
on moorhen S
Gallinula chloropus
Black
-
winged stilt S C
Himantopus himantopus
Green sandpiper S
Tringa
o
chropus
Terek sandpiper S
Xenus cinereus
Chestnut
-
bellied sandgrouse S
Pter
o
cl
es exustus
Feral pigeon S
Col
u
mba livia
Eurasian collared dove S
C
Streptopelia decaocto
Laughing dove S C
Spilopelia senegalensis
Pharaoh eagle owl S
Bubo ascalaphus
Eurasian hoopoe S
Upupa epops
Southern grey shrike
S
Lanius meridionalis
Arabian babbler S
Turdoides squamiceps
18
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-
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-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
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Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Table 2.3a (continued)
Species e
ncountered during the expedition.
Encounter method S = sighting, L = live trap, C=
camera trap.
Common name
Latin name
Brown
-
necked raven S C
Corvus ruficolli
s
Crested lark S C
Galerida cristata
White
-
eared bulbul S
Pycnonotus leucotis
Greater
h
oopo
e lark S
Alaemon alaudipes
Black
-
crowned sparrow
-
lark S
Eremopterix nigriceps
Asian desert warbler S
Sylvia nana
Desert wheatear S
Oenanthe deserti
House
sp
arrow S
Passer domesticus
Purple sunbird S
Nectarin
i
a
asiatica
Arthropods
Arabian deat
h stalker
S
Api
s
hobut
h
us pterygocercus
Desert runner (ant) S
Catagl
y
phis niger
Mammals
Arabian oryx S C
Oryx leu
c
oryx
Arabian hare S C
Lepus capensis
Arabian red fox S C
Vulpes vulpes
arabica
Arabian gazelle S C
Gazella gazella
Sand
gazelle S C
Gazella
marica
Arabian jird S
Meriones
a
rimalius
Feral cat L
Felis catus
Cheesmans gerbil S
Gerbillus cheesmani
Reptiles
Arabian toad
-
headed agama S
Phrynocephalus arabicus
White spotted lizard S
Acanthodactylus
schmidti
Sandfish S
Scincus scincus
Baluch rock
gecko S
B
u
nopus tuberculatus
Schokari sand racer S
Psammophis schokari
Hooded malpolon S
Malpolon moilensi
s
Jayakar’s sand boa S
Eryx jayakari
Of the target species, t
he
2018
expedition observed
943
Arabian
oryx,
555
mountain
gazelle
,
171
sand gazelle
,
2
r
ed
f
ox,
3
Arabian
h
are
, 18 M
a
cQueen’s
b
ustards, 5 lappet
-
faced v
ultures
and
2
p
haraoh
e
agle
o
wl
s
.
Ung
ulate s
urvey
Over the years, the ungulate counts conducted by Biosphere Expeditions have shown
an
inconsistency when compared to the established methodology of weekly counts by DDCR
staff, which focus mainly on wildlife support infrastructure such as feed
spots, waterholes
and irrigated areas. This may be a result of the differing emphases year to
year of the
expeditions, which can result in skewed data (see Figure 2.3a). For example,
w
hen the
expedition
task was primarily
body condition scoring
,
citizen s
cientists
spent a lot of time
with the oryx herds res
ulting in a much higher count than simple
observations.
19
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
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's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Arabian oryx
In 201
8, an emphasis on collecting good data from all the circular observation
s
combined
with focused counts at all the feed spots en
sured that an accurate count of the population
(528)
was achieved, especially when compared to
the 2017 Biosphere Expeditions count
that did not take into account the oryx at all the feeding spots (Simkins and Hammer
2018).
The 2016 expedition had more emp
hasis on aspects of the oryx herd such as
body
condition
sc
oring to estimate herd health
. This
also resulted in an
accurate population
estimate
,
but
-
as
expected
-
the 2018 population estimate
also
shows an increase
of
the
population
due to the natural gr
owth of the oryx herd
. The predicted distribution of Arabian
o
ryx across the DDCR has greatly i
mproved from 2017 with more areas with a high
concentration of animals reflecting the true distribution of the reserve’s oryx herd (Figure
2.3b).
Arabian gazell
e
During the 2018 expedition, collecting quality data from both circular and random
observatio
ns and then combining these for each quadrant greatly improved the predicted
distribution (Figure 2.3c) of Arabian gazelle when compared to the results from 2017
(Simkins and Hammer 2018). The main concentration of Arabian gazelle is in the central
part of
the DDCR and appears to be as a result of the adapted habitats such as the
irrigated areas at the old farms and tree plantations, which provide more food and sh
elter
for the species.
Sand gazelle
The counts of sand gazelle increased from counts in previ
ous years (Simkins and Hammer
2018 and other expedition reports), as well as the regular DDCR counts, and can be
considered an accurate estimate of the populatio
n within the DDCR. Predicted distribution
has expanded from that of 2017; however, the concentr
ations are consistently in the south
of the DDCR and correlate to a concentration of individuals at Tawi Ghadier irrigated area
(see Figure 2.3d).
Large shrub s
urvey
A repeat survey following the 2017 methodology described in Simkins and Hammer (2018)
co
unted nearly 8,500 plants during circular observations. The dominant species was the
fire bush (8131), followed by congregated ghaf trees (264), widely distribut
ed Acacia trees
(64) and
Sodom’s apple (31). Date palms were not counted in 2018.
Predicted di
stribution of the two shrub species (fire bush and Sodom’s apple), which are
both important indicator species for the reserve’s habitats
was not as accurate as i
n 2017,
because the perimeter quadrants were not surveyed due to a smaller expedition team; thi
s
led to a reduction in the predicted distribution away from the perimeter
(see Figures 2.3e
&
f).
This is particularly
noticeab
le
in the
n
orth
west of the DDCR and along t
he
e
astern
b
oundary.
20
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Figure 2.3a.
Comparative chart of ungulate
numbers reco
rded by the expedition
(intensive survey of one week duration, once a year)
And DDCR feedspot
counts (during the same week as the expedition)
.
21
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Figure 2.
3b
.
Arabian oryx distribution 201
7
vs. 201
8
. Predicted distribution calculations are based on
a comb
ination of both random and circular
observation
data
.
22
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Figure 2.3
c
.
Arabian gazelle distribu
tion 201
7
vs. 201
8
. Predicted distribution
is
based on
observation
data.
23
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
F
igure 2.3
d
.
Sand gazelle distribution 201
7
vs. 201
8
. Predicted distribution calculat
ions are based on
observation
data.
24
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Figure 2.3
e
.
Fire bush
distribution 201
7
vs. 201
8
. Pr
ed
icted distribution calculations are based on
observation
data.
25
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Figure 2.3
f
.
Sodom’s apple
distribution 201
7
vs.
201
8
. Predicted distribution calculations are b
ased on
observation
data.
26
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Live traps for medium
-
sized animals
Three traps were set for fiv
e
nights for a total of
15 trap nights. The 2018 expedition had
more success than the 2017 expedition when no captures were made (Simkins and
Hammer 2018). In 2018
,
tracks of the target species
were
observed
at all
trap locations.
There
w
as also
one unsucc
es
sful trigger and three captures. The Northern trap was
triggered with no capture
,
but with evidence of fox presence. The Southern trap captured a
feral cat on the
second
night.
T
he Central trap had two captures of a target species
,
namely
the
Arabian red
f
ox
on the first and last nights.
Arabian
r
ed
f
ox
d
en
s
urvey
Results of the survey can be found in
T
able
2.3
b
.
The 201
8
survey shows a 5
4
% reduction
in the numb
er of active dens
compared to 2017
,
of
which
seventeen
were
abandoned
and
ten became
inactiv
e.
H
owever,
two inactive and two abandoned dens became active once
again. This, together with eleven previously abandoned dens becoming
inactive shows
us
that
old d
ens are being reused.
There were
fifteen
new den sites (
seven
a
ctive,
and eight
Inactive) di
sc
overed
in 201
8
compared to
38
new sites found in 201
7
(Simkin
s and
Hammer 2018)
.
N
ote that new abandoned is not included in the 3
8
, because
b
y
definition
a
n a
bandoned den is a collapsed
den with no evidence of fox activit
y.
Table 2.3b
.
Results of
the Arabian red fox den surveys in 2011
and 2016
-
2018.
Status
2011
2016
2017
2018
Active
66
59
24
11
Inactive
95
52
40
42
Abandoned
0
57
138
1
67
TOTAL
161
168
202
220
Status changes
Unchanged
55
65
138
New Active
4
14
7
Inactive to Active
25
2
2
Abandoned to Active
0
0
2
New Inactive
3
24
8
Active to Inactive
24
3
10
Abandoned to Inactive
0
5
11
New Abandoned
0
7
0
Active
to
Abandoned
12
43
17
Inactive to Abandoned
45
39
25
Not Surveyed
0
11
10
High
den
densities were
, as expected, within
re
latively well
-
vegetated areas
,
dominated by
large shrubs
,
in particular
Leptadenia
pyrotechnica
,
which
meet the habitat requirements
of providing a stable
soil sub
strate
supported by the shrub
s root system.
Changes in den
densities from 2017
to 2018 (Fi
gu
re 2.3g)
show a concentration of dens
,
but a reduction in
overall distribution
.
This may be due to a decrease in the availability of food, as rodent
population de
crease
d
with
a
pro
l
onged dry period
, resulting in
larger
fox
ranges to procure
enough
foo
d.
27
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
F
igure 2.3
g
.
Arabian red fox den distribution in
2017 and
201
8
.
28
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Camera trapping
O
f the 1
7
traps set,
there were
three
traps that failed to produce any
wildl
ife
photos.
H
owever, they were active during the survey period
and as such counted toward
s
th
e
camera trapping effort. A
total of
85
trapping days captured
4
,
581
images of which
4
,
001
were images
containing an identifiable subject
.
3
,
084 individual
records
of
naturally
occurring fauna
were recorded, as well as
1
,998
humans or vehicles
(s
ee
F
ig
.
2.
3h
)
.
Fourte
e
n w
ildlife species were captured.
A high number of bird speci
es (9) were recorded this year. The most significant bird
captures were the 134 lappet
-
faced v
ultures
co
unted in all the photos from
two traps and a
rare record
, only the third ever,
of
a ciner
e
ous
v
ulture
.
Arabian oryx was the most abundant
and wide
spread
species,
recorded with
2
,
194
captures
counted in all the photos
from ten of th
e seventeen traps. H
igh
numbers
of
Eurasian collared doves
(330)
were also captured,
n
early all at camera trap 19
.
Of
the
target species
,
258
Arabian g
azelle
from nine traps
, 18 s
and
g
azelle
from three traps
, 13
Arabian red fox from three traps, and 5 Arabian hare
from one trap
w
ere
recorded
. No
Gordon’s w
ildcat or sand fox
were recorded
by camera traps
.
87.3%
11.0%
1.0%
0.5%
Animal
Blank
Setup/Pickup
Unidentifiable
F
igure
2.
3h
.
Results of camera trapping
2018
.
29
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Table 2.3c
.
Results of
camera trapping 2018.
Camera t
rap
n
ame
Latitude
Longitude
Arabian
o
ry
x
Arabian
g
azelle
Sand
g
azelle
Arabian r
ed
f
ox
Arabian
h
are
E
u
rasian
c
ollared
d
ove
Laughing
d
ove
Lappet
-
faced
v
ulture
Cinereous
v
ulture
Crested
l
ark
Red
-
wattled
l
apwing
Black
-
winged
s
tilt
Long
-
legged
b
uzzard
Pallid
h
arrier
Total
Trap
02
55.66389
24.88336
0
36
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
39
Trap
03
55.66042
24.86912
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Tra
p
04
55.66
0
54
24.90088
1
19
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
20
Trap
05
55.67381
24.78927
12
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
5
4
0
0
21
Trap
06
55.71772
24.77956
24
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
24
Trap
07
55.64754
24.76645
0
5
6
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
11
Trap
08
55.66289
24.9807
7
7
9
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
16
Trap
09
55.6
6
778
24.87019
348
0
0
0
0
0
0
6
0
0
0
0
0
0
354
Trap
11
55.65691
24.74121
291
26
9
3
0
0
16
128
26
42
0
0
3
3
547
T
rap
12
55.68714
24.80453
85
26
0
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
114
T
r
ap
13
55.65969
24.82021
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Trap
14
55.71768
24.81928
300
0
0
0
5
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
308
Trap
15
55.61371
24.88543
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Trap
16
55.63482
24.8
5646
0
72
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
72
Trap
17
55.70321
24.820
7
2
856
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
856
Trap
18
55.69982
24.84174
270
9
0
7
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
286
Trap 19
55.61343
24.79554
0
56
0
0
0
327
33
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
416
Total
2194
258
18
13
5
330
49
1
34
26
42
5
4
3
3
3084
30
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-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
2
.4. Discussion and Conclusion
s
DDCR
ungulates (Arabian oryx, Arabia
n gazelle, sand gazelle)
The relatively high numbers
of ungulates within the DDCR continue to
be a challenge
for
the DDCR
in terms of
need
ing
to balance the welfa
re of the individual animals with the
health of the desert ec
o
system.
The supply of supplemen
tary feed for the oryx herd
address
es
both these aspects, with additional food available for individuals while at the
same time limiting the impact of overgrazing
on the ecosystem. However, high levels of
nutrition do result
in good breeding and therefore
exponential population growth, which is
not sustainable in the long run. Management will continue to assess different options to
reduce the number of ungulates on
the reserve. These include translocation of animals to
other
r
eserves within the natural home
range of the species and introduction of predators
to reduce population growth.
Live traps for medium
-
sized animals
2018 was a
success
ful year for
the t
rapping
for medium
-
sized mammals,
especially
over
the
short period of
the expedition. T
he data collec
ted from the captures, including size,
weight and sex
,
add to the growing database of the target species within the DDCR.
Red fox den survey
The re
sults of the
r
ed fox den survey
have
once again
shown marked
changes
from
t
he
previous surveys in 2011
,
20
16
and 2017
with a reductio
n in the number of active dens.
Possible explanations are a reduction in rodent food supply and concomitant expansion of
ranges or varia
bility in survey efforts. At this stage it is unclear what th
e
root causes are
and as such mo
re intensive training of citizen scientists to ensure consistent survey effort,
as well as
continued monitoring of the red fox dens
will form part of future expedi
tions.
A
continued decline
in red fox dens
could be indicativ
e
of a threat to the population
within
the
reserve, which in turn
may require a management intervention.
Camera trapping
The
camera traps
provided an excellent
return of pictures,
the majority
of which were
natural fauna.
This include
d
five
p
hotos of th
e
nocturnal Arabian h
are
,
but on
ly
13
records
of the Arabian
r
ed Fox.
Photos of the
l
appet
-
faced
v
ulture and a vagrant
c
inereous
v
ulture
using the waterhole for bathing are significant records f
or these species, of which little is
known of their ecology
in the Northern Arabi
an Peninsula
.
T
he rare and
cryptic
mammal
species within the DDCR
,
namely
Gordon’s wildcat and sand fox, were once
again
unfortunately not recorded. Continued camera trap surv
eys are therefore still needed to
monitor for
their
presenc
e
in the DDCR.
Management c
onside
rations
The DDCR management
in
2017
r
eceived approval to translocate Arabian o
ryx from the
reserve to other protected areas and zoological collections wi
thin the
region. It was hoped
that this would alleviate some of the
p
ressure
of a growing
population o
n the environment.
However, this has not proved sufficiently successful in 2017
to reduce or ev
en maintain
the oryx population size.
31
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
A project to analyse
the gen
etic composition of the DDCR oryx population will be
imple
m
ented in
2019
in order to best man
age the genetic quality of the herd and place the
emphasis on quality rather than quantity as a measure of a successful reintroduction
program
me
.
Although current
ly herd management through the removal of animals from the
DDCR is
the priority, t
he reintrod
uction of a
n apex predator
will continue to be explore
d
to
hopefully
find a socially acceptable
solution
.
A
n apex predator
will
restore a natural
ecological
process
by
putting top
-
down pressure on the ungulate popula
t
ion
.
S
imilar reintroductions
elsewhere have also had numerou
s other benefits to the function of the eco
-
system
(see
Berger 2002,
Weis et al. 2007
)
.
The Arabian red f
ox will need to be closely monitored due to the sudden re
duction in active
dens.
If any, relative
ly
fresh, deceased foxes
a
re found in the DDCR the op
portunity to
perform a post mortem should be undertaken to ascertain the cause of death
,
as disease
could be a potential cause of the sudden decline.
Recommended
activities and actions for the 201
9
expedition
The kind of citi
z
en science projects run by
Biosphere Expeditions are ideally suited to the
DDCR’s research needs, which require a large area to be surveyed in a short period of
time. Therefore:
We will con
tinue the quadrant survey with the circular observations in 201
9
,
as this
provides the DDCR m
anagement with valuable data collected on the size and
distribution of many species across the entire reserve.
Due to the drastic reduction of active dens, the r
ed fox den survey will be of
particular importance in 2019 again
a
s continued declines in the
number of active
dens would be significant (and worrying) for the reserve’s population of red fox. In
2019 only active and inactive dens will be surveyed and addi
tional training will be
provided on the identification of fox den
s
and their classification.
Camera trapping will be continued as we survey the DDCR for the presence and
distribution of Gordon’s wildcat and sand fox.
W
e will continue to do s
ome live tra
pping for Gordon’s wildcat as well as sand f
ox in
the reserve wit
h
the emphasis being on the
collection of morphological data of
individuals within the DDCR.
Finally, if there are enough citizen scientists in 2019, we will also implement a
rodent survey t
o investigate the distribution of this valuable prey source for t
h
e
small predators.
32
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
2.5.
Li
terature cited
Bell, S., P. Roosenschoon, G. Simkins, M. Hammer and A. Stickler (
2013a) Ways of the
desert: conserving Arabian oryx, Gordon’s wildcat and other species of the Dubai Desert
Conservation Reserve, United Arab Emirates. Expedition report 2012
available via
www.bios
phere
-
expeditions.org/reports
.
Bell
,
S.
,
M.
Hammer
and A. Stickler (2013
b
) Ways of the desert:
conserving Arabian oryx,
Gordon’s wildcat and other species of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, United
Arab Emirates.
Expedition report
2013
available vi
a
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org/repor
ts
.
Bell
,
S. and M. Hammer (2014) Ways of the desert: conserving Arabian oryx, Gordon’s
wildcat and other species of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, U
nited Arab
Emirates. Expedition report
2014
available via
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org/reports
.
Bell, S. and M. Hammer (2015) Ways of the desert: conserving Arabian oryx, Gordon’s
wildcat and o
ther species of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, United Arab
Emirates. Expedition report 20
15 available via
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org/reports
.
Berger, J.
(2002)
Wolves, landscapes, and
the ecological recovery of Yellowstone. Wild
Earth. 2002 (Spring): 32
7.
ESRI
®
(Environmental S
ystems Resource Insti
tute) (2012) ArcMap10.1. Copyright ©
1999
-
2012 ESRI Inc., Redlands, California. USA.
Simkins, G., S. Bell and M. Hammer (2016)
Ways of
the desert: conserving Arabian oryx,
Gordon’s wildcat and other species of the Dubai Desert Conse
rvation Reserve, Unit
ed
Arab Emirates. Expedition report 2016 available via
www.biosphere
-
expediti
ons.org/reports
.
Simkins, G. and M. Hammer (2018)
Ways of the desert: conserving Arabian oryx,
Gordon’s wildcat and
other species of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, United
Arab Emirates. Expedition report 2017 available via
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org/reports
.
Weis, A., T. Kroege
r, J. Haney and N. Fa
scione (2007)
Predator
-
Prey Workshop: Social
and Ecological Benefits of Restored Wolf Populations
. Transactions of the 72th North
American
Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, Portland, Oregon.
33
© Biosphere Expeditions, an international not
-
for
-
profit conservation organisation registered in En
gland, Germany, France, Australia and the USA
Officially accredited member of the United Nations
Environment Programme
's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Officially accredited member of the International Union for the Conservation o
f Nature
Appendix 1
:
Expedition diary & re
ports
A multimedia expedition diary is available on
http://bio
sphereexpeditions.wor
dpress.com/category/expedition
-
blogs/arabia
-
2018/
All expedition reports, including this and previous expedition reports,
are avai
lable on
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.or
g/reports
.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Research
Full-text available
Abstract The successful collaboration between Biosphere Expeditions and the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR), initiated in 2012, continues. Citizen scientists collected data on nine target species, namely the Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx), Gordon’s wildcat (Felis silvestris gordoni), mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella), sand gazelle (Gazella leptoceros), Arabian red fox (Vulpes vulpes arabica), sand fox (Vulpes rueppellii), Macqueen’s bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii), lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotos) and Pharaoh eagle owl (Bubo ascalaphus) for a week from 11 - 18 January 2014. Data gathered alerted the DDCR management to several conservation issues and also allowed for informed, fact-based management decisions to be made in a showcase of how the work of citizen scientist volunteers can aid the efforts of conservation professionals. In 2013 Biosphere Expeditions monitored Arabian oryx herd health and found severe undernourishment. As a result, DDCR management increased supplementary feeding. In 2014, the expedition body scored 278 Arabian oryx for herd health again, resulting in an average score of 2.9, which is just below the fit and healthy score of 3.0. This is a highly satisfactory management result and body score monitoring will continue. A total of 206 mountain gazelles and 159 sand gazelles were counted during the expedition. Since the majority of these are likely to be separate individuals, the numbers found for both species are alarmingly high. It is already evident that under current conditions the reserve cannot sustain the present oryx and gazelle populations without significant supplementary feeding. Furthermore, previous vegetation surveys have shown that the DDCR vegetation is already showing clear signs of overgrazing. Therefore a major management concern is the establishment of a gazelle carrying capacity for the DDCR, as well as self-sustaining control measures. Such control measures may in future include the removal of antelopes from the reserve through translocation and the introduction of an apex predator such as the Arabian wolf or hyaena to apply top down pressure to the antelope populations. There were no live captures of Gordon’s wildcats or feral cats during this expedition and no Gordon’s wildcats were photographed by camera traps. However, there was a possible presence observed during the expedition in terms of tracks. It is difficult to assess whether the DDCR’s Gordon’s wildcat population is stable, increasing or declining and more trapping is needed to assess this. Major threats to the Gordon’s wildcat in the DDCR are likely to be the availability of food, as well as hybridisation with feral cats. A rare sand fox was caught by the expedition for the first time in the history of the DDCR, As a result of this capture, further expeditions will start targeting this species in an attempt to obtain more information about it. Population modelling using the IDW (Inverse Distance Weighted Interpolation) and diversity indices methods show distributions in accordance with feed points and habitat preferences. Oryx populations are concentrated around the feed points, as are gazelles. Mountain gazelle distribution also follows their preferred stony/rocky habitat distribution. The Macqueen’s bustard population is small and very confined to specific areas of the DDCR. A small increase in numbers has been noticed. The lappet-faced vulture is seen fairly regularly as there is a good food source on the DDCR for them. The goal for both species is to have them breed in the reserve in future. Pharaoh eagle owl is a concern and numbers are on the decline, probably due to the scarcity of rain over the past few years, which has affected the vegetation and thereby rodents, which are the owl’s primary food source. الملخص العربى مازال التعاون الناجح بين إدارة محمية دبى الصحراوية وبرنامج بعثات المحيط الحيوى مستمراَ والذى بدأ مع العام 2012م حيث أستمر تجميع البيانات الحقلية بواسطة متطوعين من عامة الناس للعديد من الحيوانات البرية وهى ( المها العربى، القط جوردون البرى، الغزال الأدمى، وغزال الريم والثعلب الأحمر وثعلب الرمال وطائر الحبارى والعقاب النوبى وكذلك البوم الصحراوى) وذلك لمدة أسبوع من كل عام وكان خلال أيام (11 إلى 18 يناير 2014م) حيث ساعدت البيانات المجموعة إدارة محمية دبى الصحراويةعلى إتخاذ قرارات بيئية ناجحة ساهمت فى تعزيز التعاون الناجح بين المتطوعين المهتمين بالبيئة والعاملين بالمحمية. قام برنامج بعثات المحيط الحيوى فى عام 2013م بدراسة حالة قطعان المها العربى وخلص إلى نتيجة مفادها أن المها العربي يعاني من نقص حاد في التغذية وكنتيجة لذلك قامت إدارة المحمية بمضاعفة كميات العلف المقدمة لقطعان المها العربى لتعويض ذلك النقص فى التغذية. قام فريق المتطوعين لبعثات المحيط الحيوى فى العام 2014م بدراسة وتسجيل عدد 278 رأس من المها العربى وذلك لتقييم الحالة العامة للمها مرة أخرى وكانت النتيجة تسجيل تحسن ملحوظ لعدد 209 رأس من المها العربى والتى دلت على حالة صحية وبدنية جيدة للمها مما كان له من أثار إيجابية لإدارة المحمية وسوف يتم الأستمرار بتسجيل البيانات الدورية لسنوات قادمة. خلال فترة الدراسة تم تسجيل عدد 206 رأس من الغزال الأدمى وتسجيل عدد 159 رأس من غزال الريم وتبعاً لطبيعة توزيع الغزلان المنتشر فى كل أنحاء المحمية فأن تلك الأعداد تعد مؤشراً تحذيرياً للزيادة الكبيرة لأعداد الغزلان بالمحمية ولقد ثبت بالدليل القاطع انه تبعاً للظروف الراهنة من كثافة الغطاء النباتى فإن الكتلة الإحيائية النباتية فى المحمية لا يمكنها من توفير المرعى الطبيعى المناسب للحيوانات الرعوية البرية بالمحمية من غير التدخل البشرى بإمداد المحمية بالمزيد من الأعلاف. بالإضافة إلى ذلك، فأن الدراسات التقيمية للغطاء النباتى السابقة قد أثبتت تدهور الغطاء النباتى بالمحمية نتيجة للرعى الزائد ولذلك فأن الضرورة الملحة حاليا تقتضى تقييم القيم الرعوية لأراضى المراعى الجافة بالمناطق المحمية لمحمية دبى الصحراوية مع الاخذ فى الأعتبار التحكم فى معايير الإستدامة ومنها، التخلص من بعض أعداد قطعان المها والغزال عن طريق النقل للمحميات الأخرى والمزارع الخاصة أو إدخال حيوان مفترس رئيسى كالذئب العربى أو الضبع المخطط حتى يتم التحكم بصورة طبيعية فى أعداد قطعان الحيوانات البرية الرعوية. لم يتم تسجيل القط جوردون البري أو أى من القطط الضالة فى أى من المصائد التى نصبت خلال تلك الفترة وكذلك من خلال مصائد الكاميرات ايضاً. بالرغم من ذلك، كان هناك إحتمالية للتواجد فى المنطقة من خلال كشف وتسجيل أثار أقدام تلك الحيوانات. كان من الصعب خلال تلك الفترة تقييم ثبات أعداد القط البري أو من حيث الزيادة أو النقصان وخلصت التوصية بزيادة أعداد المصائد المستخدمة فى السنوات التالية لتقييم أفضل للأعداد المحتمل تواجدها. خلصت الدراسة أيضاً إلى أن المهددات الحقيقية للقط جوردون البري هيا نقص الغذاء المتاح وكذلك عمليات التلقيح الخلطي بين القط البري والقطط الضالة. تم تسجيل أول ثعلب رمال فى مصيدة من المصائد وذلك لأول مرة في تاريخ محمية دبي الصحراوية ونتيجة لذلك سوف يتم توجيه الأنتباه فى الرحلات الحقلية التالية لذلك النوع لدراسته بصورة مستفيضة وتسجيل أكبر قدر ممكن من البيانات عنه. أظهرت نتائج توزيع الأنواع بإستخدام طريقة (بعد المسافات العكسي) لكل مناطق الدراسة وكذلك طرق مؤشرات التنوع الحيوى أن توزيع قطعان الحيوانات الرعوية البرية يعتمد على توزيع نقاط العلف وكذلك أفضلية البيئات لكل نوع على حدة، حيث تتركز توزيعات قطعان المها العربى وغزال الريم حول نقاط إمداد العلف أما بالنسبة للغزال الأدمى فالأفضلية لنوعية البيئات التى ينتشر بها والمناسبة لذلك النوع. أثبتت الدراسات أن أعداد طيور الحبارى قليلة وتقتصر على مناطق محددة جداً بمحمية دبي الصحراوية ولقد تم ملاحظة زيادة طفيفة فى أعداد الحبارى بالإضافة إلى تسجيل مشاهدة العقاب النوبى بصورة منتظمة وذلك لتوافر الغذاء المناسب له فى المحمية. تهدف إدارة المحمية إلى تكاثر الحبارى والعقاب النوبى بصورة طبيعية فى المحمية فى المستقبل القريب. أما بالنسبة للبوم الصحراوى فأن أعداده فى نقصان ربما يرجع ذلك لقلة الأمطار فى الأعوام الاخيرة والتى أثرت بالسلب على الغطاء النباتى وبالتالى على أعداد القوارض والتى هى المصدر الأولى لغذاء البوم الصحراوى.
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Recognition that the wolf has both extrinsic and intrinsic value allows identification of many benefits that result from restored wolf populations. The term benefits need not be limited or limiting if the philosophical discourse is broadened beyond extrinsic values attached to wolf presence. Such expansion can be contextualized against a backdrop of simultaneous evolution in the breadth of Western Civilization’s cultural, philosophical and scientific foundations.
Wolves, landscapes, and the ecological recovery of Yellowstone. Wild Earth
  • J Berger
Berger, J. (2002) Wolves, landscapes, and the ecological recovery of Yellowstone. Wild Earth. 2002 (Spring): 32-7.