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Tue 16 Jan 2018 07:40 PM

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Dubai ruler launches first unfenced desert conservation reserve

Marmoom Reserve spans 10% of Dubai's total area; will host 20 annual sporting events by 2030

Dubai ruler launches first unfenced desert conservation reserve

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has launched the Marmoom Reserve project, the first unfenced desert conservation reserve in the country.

The reserve spans 10 percent of the emirate of Dubai’s total area and will introduce more than 20 environmental, cultural and sports-related initiatives, sponsored by nine Dubai government agencies.

Enjoying over 40 hectares of shrubland and fertile area, the reserve is home to over 204 species of native birds, 158 species of migratory birds, and over 10km of lakes, encompassing the Al Qudra Lakes.

The new project will include 10 animal and bird observation platforms, star and sunset observations decks, areas for yoga, an outdoor theatre that can host 350-person events, and will be powered by a 5,000 megawatt solar power complex.

By 2030, it will host more than 20 annual sporting events, which will attract an estimated 20,000 participants, a statement said.

Its cycling tracks will add up to the longest in any desert anywhere in the world, it added.

Sheikh Mohammed said: “Preserving and investing in the environment means preserving and investing in one of our most important assets. The Marmoom Reserve is an environmental, touristic and sporting addition to life in the UAE.”

The project is home to 26 species of reptiles, nine mammal species, and 39 species of plants while providing a sanctuary for 19 species of endangered animals and birds.

It has the highest concentration of large flamingos in a desert region in the country, with up to 500 birds. It contains one of the richest Houbara Bustard colonies in the region, and is home to one of the largest Arabian gazelle herds in the UAE.

The Marmoom Reserve is also the site of the important Saruq Al Hadid archaeological site, which dates back over 3,000 years to the Iron Age.

The Dubai Municipality, Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Water and Electricity Authority, Roads and Transport Authority, Media Office, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai SME and Meraas will all be part of establishing and launching the new initiatives and projects.

When complete, The Marmoom Reserve will feature more than ten observation decks scattered across the grounds in different locations and they will be built in the shape of Arabian Oryx heads.

Several platforms will be erected to provide a space for meditation and relaxation, including a yoga practice hall which will be shaded by a sand-dune designed cover.

The Marmoom Reserve will also be an incubator for the largest plant nursery in the UAE, covering an area of 40 hectares.

It will host a series of annual sporting events including the Dubai International Cycling Tour and the Sandstorm Marmoom Challenge.

An outdoor theatre with a capacity for 350 people will host a variety of artistic and lyrical performances from across the region and the world.

The reserve will also feature the Marmoom Biosphere Centre which will serve as a centre for sustainable ecotourism while the Marmoom Reserve Protection Scouts will aim to develop the outdoor skills of the younger generation.

Clean energy will be produced over the facilities through the Shams Dubai initiative for the installation of a photovoltaic solar system. Green Charger stations will be installed at the Electric Vehicle Park to encourage people to use environmentally friendly vehicles.

Smart Meter technology will also be available in the reserve, which will include advanced features that contribute to an intelligent and environmentally friendly lifestyle.