Ecologists Spot Rare Wild Cat In UAE

A never-seen-before wild cat has been spotted in the protected zone of Wadi Wurayah on the eastern Coast of the UAE.Camera traps set up by the ecologists working in the mountainous area have captured an image of a rare breed of wild cat (Felis silvestris lybica) whose presence was, until now, just assumed thanks to some elusive tracks, WAM news agency quoting Gulf News daily reported yesterday.Wadi Wurayah is a 129 sq km area that was declared UAE’s first protected mountainous area in March 2009, the report added.

The discovery of the wild cat demonstrates the high ecological value of the area to the ongoing preservation efforts of the UAE and Middle East’s wildlife.”The discovery underpins the importance of protecting the Wadi Wurayah area. We have not seen a wild cat for many years and it is vital that we do our utmost to protect the area, allowing the wildlife residing there to flourish,” said Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, the director of Emirates Wildlife Society-World Wildlife Fund for Nature.

Studies conducted over the last three years in the area have revealed the presence of 12 species of mammals, 73 species of birds, 17 species of reptiles and amphibians, one species of wadi fish and 74 invertebrate families, of which 11 species are new to science.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 the UAE, Epipactis veratrifolia.The area has been used by the local communities for thousands of years and is home to rare and endangered species such as the Arabian Tahr and Arabian Leopard, all due to the perennially available water.

The wadi is located within Ecoregion 127: “Arabian highlands and shrublands”, one of the WWF Global 200
ecoregions regrouping the richest, rarest and most distinctive of the natural habitats.



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