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Ambassador report

Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] Fresh water habitats and biodiversity

by Arushi Madan | 10-11-2019 04:00 Comments 5 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations

This report is about a research trip to Wadi Wurayah National Park to study the fresh water habitats. It was quite an adventurous experience as we did Mammal trapping, Bird trapping, Insect surveys – marking and counting dragonflies and Toad counts.


The research trip was conducted in Wadi Wurayah National Park, located in the upper Hajar Mountains of Fujairah which was declared a Ramsar site in year 2010. Wadi Wurayah National Park is the first national park in the UAE and continues to  serve as a regional model for wildlife and water conservation. The wadi encompasses one of the few permanent freshwater sources in the UAE and is home to many plants and animals that cannot be found elsewhere. Wadi Wurayah is of considerable ecological significance allowing some of the rarest species found in the UAE, Arabian Peninsula and the world to survive this harsh climate.


The Wadi Wurayah Mountain Protected Area is already known to be one of the world?s three remaining strongholds of Arabian Tahr. Of the 75 species of birds recorded within the Wadi Wurayah region, 5% are considered endangered worldwide by the IUCN and 24 % are of conservation concern for the UAE. 


More than 300 species of plants have been recorded in the area, including species that are found only in wetlands such as Typha dominginsis and the unique orchid species of UAE: Epipactis veratrifolia .


While the biodiversity of Wadi Wurayah is exceptional, its cultural value cannot be underestimated. Because of the presence of permanent water, the wadi has been used by local communities for long time. 


Wadi Wurayah is, however, not without threats, the main ones being overexploitation of water resources, overgrazing of domestic animals, hunting, habitat degradation (littering, fires), quarrying, habitat fragmentation, urbanisation and the introduction of invasive species. 


objectives of Research were:


- Study the biodiversity of freshwater habitats and how species are affected by physical and chemical environmental factors


- Assess how key species are dispersed


-Measure impact of human activities


-Conduct hydrological surveys to understand on water quality, water availability and sustainability


-Predict how biodiversity may be affected by climate change and propose conservation strategies



Other Activities included:

-Water quality testing

-Hydrology surveys

-Mammal trapping

-Bird trapping

-Insect surveys – marking and counting dragonflies

-Toad counts

-Lots of hiking!


We went on an adventurous hiking trip for three days as a part of our fieldwork activity where we caught and tagged dragonflies, measured toads and also tested the quality of water in the Wadi which is a fresh water resource.


Initially it was scary to capture toads to look for the chitrid fungus but later it was OK. We captured toads by hand (wearing gloves) and swab with cotton buds on various parts of our body, for the samples to be analysed by a lab. We also counted, measured and weighed toads caught from water pools to establish their abundance throughout the wadi.



We also carried out capture-mark-recapture surveys and point counts. This

entailed catching dragonflies with nets to mark and release them, and recording individuals spotted which have already been marked. Point counts involved examining a set area for a period of 15 minutes to spot, identify and record

any dragonflies and damselflies that are present. We were taking photos for species identification and GPS locations of sites. Wel also conducted surveys of water pools to look for larvae.


We had set up bird nets above the waterfall where there is a higher density of birds. Then we waited for birds to be trapped in the net "pockets". We weighed, measured, identified and ring captured birds.


Camera traps (motion sensor cameras) were strategically deployed throughout Wadi Wurayah National Park to collect information on individual animals or species. We also helped field staff maintain some of those camera traps in the Wadi and download pictures to collect information on species occurrence and abundance.



Other Experiences & Findings

We were given Porta-cabins to stay in as a part of our five day programme including outdoor fieldwork as well as indoor research in the lab.


Throughout the course of the project, there were many exciting findings. Identified were nine different freshwater habitat types with exceptionally good water quality. Hydro-chemical analyses indicate that the spring waters meet all World Health Organisation standards for drinking and bottled water!  


During the programme there were facilitated learning and discussion sessions each day. These were designed to support our learning in the field and were interactive.



Through lectures and learning sessions we were made aware about various water facts, availability and threats in the Middle East on a global comparison and got a hands-on experience on how unmindful water consumption habits can adversely affect life on Earth. We were presented with eye-opening facts and statistics.


We were informed about the risks of continued water wastage and how Wadi Wurayah is the only location that contains the last freshwater waterfall in the United Arab Emirates. We were informed about the current condition of water in the Middle East and how the government is doing everything to stop the depletion of the last water resource in the Middle East.


Many activities during the indoor sessions were also held such as making posters to make people of different age groups in the Middle East aware of this crisis. Another activity was a water challenge where we were given a scenario and a budget to make an office sustainable. We participated enthusiastically to develop sustainable solutions and measures to spread awareness.





When we completed the program we were titled " Citizen Science Leader". Each of us were rewarded with certificates that entitled us to be "Citizen Science Leaders from the Middle East region" which is an honour.  As Citizen Science Leaders it is our responsibility to inspire, educate and motivate others around us to use water judiciously, to respect eco system and protect biodiversity. Citizen Science Leaders play an active role in championing water management issues in their business and community.


It was a fantastic and a very educational experience. The water program was one of the best things I have done in my life. I am amazed from the experience and the amount of information I have learned.


s s s s s


Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Arushi

    I do hope that you are fine and doing great with your works.
    Thank you for your report about Fresh water habitats and biodiversity

    Green Cheers from Nepal :)
    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.

    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 13-11-2019 19:15

Hyeongmin Mentor

  • Hyeongmin Mentor says :
    Hello Arushi

    Looks like you experience through a wonderful program. Difference between just reading about the region and actually visiting and researching about it is huge. By just looking at the pictures, I have to agree that the wetland is a home to hundreds of plants and animals.
    Interaction between human and the park is inevitable, but there has to be balance between the amount of utilization of the park and the preservation of the eco system.
    I hope the park is preserved in fine ways, and it was great to read your vivid report from the research.

    Keep up the great work.
    Posted 12-11-2019 00:10

Lisa Mentor

  • Lisa Mentor says :
    Hello Arushi!
    This is your mentor Lisa.

    I can see that you have done some amazing field research here!
    It is always inspirational to see how you guys go out in the field to write reports instead of relying merely on the internet.
    I love these kinds of first-hand data-based reports!!

    Freshwater is indeed an important yet, it is often missed in public discussions for many of them just center around the oceans and seas. There are a diverse ecosystem in the freshwater as in the ocean and also they play a critical role in the environment. I hope you had a nice time, and I hope the other ambassadors also challenge themselves for these kinds of field experiences!!

    Thanks for sharing your story and keep it up, dear:)
    Posted 11-11-2019 18:58

Meena Pandey

  • Meena Pandey says :
    Hello Arushi !!
    I hope you are fine and doing great.
    I really enjoyed reading yours report.

    Its really amazing to know about fresh water habitats and ecosystem .

    Keep writing and shining.
    Hope to know more from you.

    Warm regards,

    Posted 10-11-2019 11:31

Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :

    Hello Arushi
    I hope you are fine

    Good to know about fresh water habitats and Ecosystem of UAE.photos are also super amazing.
    Thank you so much for this report.
    Green cheers
    Asmita Gaire
    Posted 10-11-2019 10:34

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