Natural World

To many people, the UAE desert may seem devoid of animal life, but appearances can be deceptive. Many mammals have adapted to the hot, dry climate by leading a nocturnal life and are therefore seldom seen. Herbivores commonly go out at dawn and dusk, to graze on the sparse vegetation. Many animals cope with the lack of available water by recycling fluids, or make do with the dew on plants or the body fluids of prey.

Endangered species 
In recent years the number of wild animals has reduced considerably, due mainly to hunting and loss of habitat. Numbers of the two rarest species, the Arabian leopard and the Arabian tahr (a small mountain half-goat), can be counted on the fingers of two hands. For predators and raptors (birds of prey), the loss of prey animals poses the greatest problem, since they have to resort to killing goats, which in turn makes them the target of irate farmers. If habitats are protected and herbivores reintroduced, these carnivores could possibly make a comeback on their own, although certain species, like the wolf and the hyena, may need more of a helping hand.

To catch a glimpse of these and the UAE’s other animals, the best options are the 
Arabian Wildlife Centre at Sharjah Desert Park and Sir Bani Yas Island.

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