Arabia: Data galore from group 1

Update from our wildlife conservation volunteering holiday in Dubai (UAE) working on oryx, wildcat and desert species

Home, sweet home. I’ve returned to the DDCR after dropping off group 1 at the Premier Inn, except for Peter, who is staying on for group 2 also. We restocked and then enjoyed another peaceful afternoon at base camp.

Friday was a wonderful last day with group 1 of our Arabian desert species conservation expedition. All four teams managed to get their morning tasks done in time, giving Aline and Basil, our scientists, enough time to go through all datasheets for a final check, whilst everyone else went through pictures collected by our camera traps during the week. With all that done, Aline and Basil, gave us a preliminary summary of findings recordings: Group 1 recorded

  • 19 bird
  • 9 mammal
  • 4 reptile and
  • 6 insect species,

including records of a rare and ancient dwarf honey bee nest in one of the crevices of the reserve’s rocky outcrop at its northern tip.

The Pharao eagle owl the team was actually looking for was found later on, nesting in a ghaf tree on the other side of the track.

The camera traps recorded

  • 1 desert wheatear
  • 17 Arabian oryx
  • 29 Arabian gazelles
  • 8 Sand gazelles and
  • 1 Arabian red fox.

Over the week, the teams checked

  • 24 Pharao Eagle Owl nesting sites and
  • 62 Arabian Red Fox dens

to assess their status – more than half of a total of 108 known den locations (group 2, there are 46 den sites left for you to find and check).

The lappet-faced vulture survey was also conducted every day, but instead of finding the birds in places where they have been recorded most frequently in the past, they were seen randomly, but frequently, in different locations within the reserve.

As to the quadrat survey, 20 out of 62 were completed. Again, more work for group 2…

After the presentation of results, we went back to camp to enjoy another magical sunset and then sat around a warming camp fire until late in the evening.

I would like to thank everyone on the Arabia expedition team for the time, effort and resilience you have put into this project. But also for generating lots and lots of interesting findings and bringing data, pictures and stories back from the field to share with everyone. I hope you have enjoyed the week as much as I did. Safe travels home and see you again, perhaps.

Group 2: I am looking forward to meeting you on Monday morning at the Premier Inn.

Update from our Arabia expedition in Dubai, UAE working as an oryx volunteer in the desert of the UAE

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