From our desert expedition volunteering with oryx and wildcats in Arabia (

Last night Malika and I spent our first night sleeping under the stars at our base camp in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR). We planned an early night and a lie-in after our long journeys and were woken by the loud dawn chorus at 6.30 – during the expedition this won’t happen because the expedition team will be the early birds!


Early morning is the best time to start our research work as we are more likely to see the study animals and we will need to free any animals that may be caught in our live traps as soon as possible to minimise any (heat) stress to them.

This morning the workers of the DDCR came to prepare an area for our Bedu and then they erected it in record time while we were away from camp collecting all the food for the expedition.

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The car was so full of food I think we, like the oryx, will be well fed while we are in the reserve.

food car

This year there will be no body condition scoring of the oryx because the last survey carried out a few months ago by the local scientists showed that they are now all in good condition. Still, we will have plenty to do with the new tasks I mentioned in the last diary entry and if we get time during the expedition, we may even get a chance to fly a drone – the latest piece of equipment to arrive at the DDCR for use in their research work.

The rest of this week we will be busy preparing our equipment and datasheets and setting up camp ready for the arrival of the team on Saturday – no more lie-ins for us!

From our desert expedition volunteering with oryx and wildcats in Arabia (

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