Did you Know?
  • The Lappet-faced Vulture, a regular winter visitor to the DDCR, has a wingspan of 2.5-3 metres (8-10 feet)

Monitoring of the Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Aims

To gain an understanding of the ecology of the Arabian oryx within the DDCR, in particular we will look to determine their home range and which habitats, within that home range, they prefer and finally which plant species they utilize within that habitat.

Goals

  • Gain a better understanding on the movements of Arabian oryx through the use of GPS collars and so collect data on their home range and habitat selection.
  • Gather data on activity patterns (i.e. time spent grazing, resting or moving) of the Arabian oryx in relation to factors such as habitat, temperature, sex and life phase.
  • Gain an understanding of the dependence of the oryx herd to the provided feed and how this can affect there behavioural and distributional patterns.
  • Study the grazing habitats of the Arabian oryx to establish grazing preferences in relation to plant species and growth form.

Methodology

  • Eight Arabian oryx, representing approximately 2% of the reserve population and consisting of four males and four females, will be selected from eight different herds geographically spread across the DDCR
  • The oryx will be chemically immobilized and fitted with a GSM-GPS collar which will record the GPS location of the oryx every two hours in addition an activity sensor records some behaviour such as grazing or resting. Collars should be active for three years before dropping off.
  • Data from the collars will be transmitted, via GSM signal, to a base station collation and analysis.
  • Current GPS locations and activity data (i.e. grazing periods), as well as VHF signals will be used to track the oryx to ascertain their preferred fodder species.

Expected Output

Data from the collars will be analysed to establish home range, habitat preference and activity patterns in relation to factors such as sex, life phase and temperature. Furthermore by actively tracking oryx in relation to grazing activity we will gain an understanding of habitat use and in particular plant forage preferences. By understanding the movement and habitat use of the Arabian Oryx, our largest herbivore, we will gain a better understanding of the herbivore carrying capacity of the DDCR and thereby make the correct management decision to prevent overgrazing and habitat degradation.