In news that testifies to the UAE’s commitment to environmental protection, the country’s first national park Wadi Wurayah, has been designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Wadi Wurayah in Fujairah is now in an illustrious list of 24 sites across the globe that have received this honor from UNESCO. The status is essentially an acknowledgment of environmental sustainability that recognizes the sites for demonstrating a balanced association between people and their natural surroundings.
Wadi Wurayah supports a rich ecosystem within its boundaries where streams, pools and waterfalls allow a rich variety of wildlife to flourish and thrive. The wadi also houses the Omani owl and the extremely rare urothemis thomasi dragon, which until now was believed to be extinct. Additionally, the wadi is home to 20 species of mammals, 81 species of birds, 467 invertebrates and nine reptilian species. It also boasts the distinction of being the last bastion of traditional farming practices in the UAE.
Each UNESCO biosphere reserve has a core zone that prohibits the entry of humans in a bid to preserve its fragile ecosystem. In addition, each reserve has a buffer zone that allows scientific research and a transition area that is conducive to human development.