Malika and I (Kate – assistant leader) have now been in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) for two days unpacking and sorting out all the gear and equipment and setting up camp. The photo of camp was taken yesterday soon after we got here – it will look a little different when we are properly set up ready for the team’s arrival.
Malika was surprised to see that the view from camp had changed dramatically since last year; Sheik Mohammed (the Chairman of the Reserve and Ruler of Dubai) has a long-term vision, which includes planting native tree species at various sites throughout the DDCR, one of which has been chosen just to the north of our camp. It is really good to see conservation in action and the site has been busy with DDCR staff for the last couple of days putting in the final few trees and some irrigation, but they should be finished by the weekend. We will learn more about this from the DDCR staff in our briefings about the work here.
We have already seen quite a number of the study species and had a few Arabian gazelles wander curiously up to camp to check us out. There is also a group of oryx in the area near to camp that we have seen each day.
We have also been privileged to experience the first rain this area has experienced for over five months! I took the second photo this morning on our way to go shopping to replace worn out kit – a good way of avoiding the heavy rain showers. In case we are fortunate enough to experience this rare event again remember to pack a waterproof!