DUBAI: The Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has launched the Marmoom Reserve project, the first unfenced desert conservation reserve in the country.
The reserve spans 10% of the emirate of Dubai’s total area – and will introduce more than 20 environmental, cultural and sports-related initiatives, sponsored by nine Dubai government agencies.
Enjoying over 40 hectares of shrub land and fertile area, the reserve is home to over 204 species of native birds, 158 species of migratory birds, and over 10 km of lakes, encompassing the Al Qudra Lakes.
The new project will include 10 animal and bird observation platforms, star and sunset observations decks, areas for yoga, an outdoor theatre that can host 350-person events, and will be powered by a 5,000 megawatt solar power complex. By 2030, it will host more than 20 annual sporting events, which will attract an estimated 20,000 participants. Its cycling tracks will add up to the longest in any desert anywhere in the world.
Sheikh Mohammed said, "Preserving and investing in the environment means preserving and investing in one of our most important assets. The Marmoom Reserve is an environmental, touristic and sporting addition to life in the UAE." He continued, "The desert is beautiful and inspirational; it provides a peaceful shelter to plants, birds and people. Our goal is to provide a fertile and robust environment for plants, a natural reserve for animals, and an important destination for tourists and families." His Highness concluded, "When nine government agencies work as a team, the result will be exceptional, as reflected in the Marmoom Reserve." This project reflects Dubai’s development goals to preserve the local environment, including the nature of the desert, and to enhance its aestheticism, as well as to provide a natural habitat for threatened wildlife through its natural reserves.
Al Marmoom is one of the largest protected areas in Dubai, spanning over 10% of the emirate’s total area. It is home to 26 species of reptiles, nine mammal species, and 39 species of plants. It provides a sanctuary for 19 species of endangered animals and birds. It has the highest concentration of large flamingos in a desert region in the country, with 300 to 500 birds. It also welcomes 158 species of migratory birds every year, hosting them along 10 sq km of wetland. It contains one of the richest Houbara Bustard colonies in the region, and is home to one of the largest Arabian gazelle herds in the UAE.
The Marmoom Reserve is also the site of the important Saruq Al Hadid archaeological site, which dates back over 3,000 years to the Iron Age.
The reserve will host more than 20 projects and environmental, recreational, sports, tourism and educational programmes that will engage people in unique experiences throughout the year. On the reserve are more than a dozen wildlife and bird observation platforms, star and sunset observation decks, yoga practice areas, a theatre that will host various cultural, artistic and recreational performances, and various sports initiatives and challenges.
The Dubai Municipality, Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Water and Electricity Authority, Roads and Transport Authority, Media Office, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai SME and Meraas will all be part of establishing and launching the new initiatives and projects.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2018.