The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has one of the most biodiverse deserts in the world, home to desert ospreys, desert crocodiles and desert birds.
But the UAE is also a leader in its conservation effort, and the UAE National Institute of Tourism (NTIT) has developed a guide for the country’s wildlife that aims to help guide visitors to the best places to see wildlife.
The guide, released on Tuesday, highlights the best wildlife hotspots and places to take wildlife selfies, as well as the best destinations for wildlife viewing in Dubai.
“We want to make sure that tourists and visitors can see what is happening in the UAE, what is going on in the country, and why it is important,” NTIT head of wildlife conservation, Hisham Abu Zayda, told The National.
“If we can make it easy for tourists to see the country from a wildlife perspective, we have the opportunity to increase the tourism value of the UAE.”
In its introduction to the guide, NTIT said the UAE’s wildlife is threatened by habitat loss, poaching and the fragmentation of habitats.
“In terms of biodiversity, the number of birds and animals has decreased from 6,600 species in 2001 to just under 3,500 today,” Abu Zetda said.
“We want the tourism industry to realize the benefits of biodiversity.”
Included in the guide are information leaflets and a map of the country.
It’s a small price to pay for a country with a rich heritage and abundant wildlife.
For wildlife photographers in the region, it can be difficult to get the right permits, and in many cases, the permits are restricted to areas where the species is in trouble.
Abu Zeta said that, if a photographer was allowed to shoot in areas where there are threatened species, it could save thousands of lives.
“That would mean more people would be able to see them, and therefore more opportunities for tourism,” he said.
“A big part of it is about making sure people see the wildlife from a conservation perspective.”
The guide will be updated throughout the year, and it’s available to download at the NTIT website.