Conservation introduction of the Arabian Tahr to Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi Emirate, UAE: challenges and lessons learnt
The Arabian tahr (Arabitragus jayakari) is a mountain ungulate that is an Arabian Peninsula endemic only found along the Hajar Mountain range that extends between the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman. In the UAE the Arabian tahr was found in two locations namely Wadi Wurayah in Fujairah Emirate and Jebel Hafeet in Abu Dhabi Emirate, but in recent years seems to have disappeared from Wadi Wurayah. To create a suitable population for re-introduction in to their historic range a conservation introduction was initiated to create a population of semi-wild Arabian tahr that would be better suited for release into the wild. The population on Sir Bani Yas Island in the Arabian Gulf in Abu Dhabi Emirate has generated many challenges and lessons as some individuals were lost to predation and injuries. The lessons learnt were that a released population should comprise of at least 10+ individuals, as losses in small populations can be catastrophic. The management of this project via a multi-disciplinary committee comprising all stakeholders has been very effective in resolving issues and making urgent and important decisions. This “half-way” house conservation introduction (placement of species outside their historic range for conservation purposes) project can be useful for creating semi-wild populations for release and which also have an important educational awareness component.
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