Did you Know?
  • The Giant Long-horned Beetle (Anthracocentrus arabicus)is one of the largest beetles in the world at 11 centimetres and can be found in the natural Ghaf forest on the DDCR


  • MOU signed with Loughborough University, UK, to work in conjunction with Zayed University on Drone studies within the DDCR and machine learning on the images collected.
  • Director of Kew Foundation, UK, Meredith Pierce Hunter visits the DDCR.
  • Installation of weather and virtual reference station in corporation with Survey Department- Dubai Municipality.
  • Wildlife Diplomacy Delegation from USA visits DDCR.


  • DDCR Management plan completed for the next 5 years (2019 -2023).
  • DDCR implement a paperless Visitor Management System and reporting solution..
  • Launch the DDCR Approved tours to promote high quality tours with a focus on nature and local culture.
  • Nara Desert Escapes becomes a concession holder in the DDCR to provide unique desert experience to visitors.
  • MOU signed with Prague University and MSc. Student starts a camera trap study in the Reserve.
  • Research Collaborations
    • Mohammad Bin Rashid University of Medicine and health sciences (college of Medicine) on small mammals in DDCR.
    • UAE university- (College of food and agriculture-department of veterinary medicine) on Pathogen risk assessments of felines in DDCR.
    • East Anglia University for MSc project on pitfall traps sizes efficiency surveying arthropods.
    • Natural History Museum of London studying desert termites.


  • Camera Traps set during the annual Biosphere Expedition capture only the second record of a Cinereous Vulture in the UAE.
  • Memorandum of Understanding for co-operation on environmental research is signed with the University of Coimbra – Centre for Functional Ecology (Portugal).
  • The DDCR welcomes its first Intern from the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.
  • The Director General of the IUCN, Inger Anderson, visits the DDCR.


  • A rare UAE sighting of six Short-eared Owls in the DDCR.
  • Memorandum of Understanding for co-operation on environmental research are signed with Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi and Malaga University.


  • New wasp species, Palarus inexspectatus, is discovered in the DDCR by visiting entomologist, Dr. Sarah Gess from Albany Museum, Grahamstown, South Africa
  • Major rainfall event (85.2mm)


  • A partnership with Frying Pan Adventures to provide a photographic and food trail through the DDCR.
  • A purpose built DDCR operations office and workshop are built


  • A young Sand Fox is caught as part of Biosphere Expedition, proofing that this elusive species is breeding in the DDCR.


  • Largest Vulture Sighting ever in the UAE, 47 Lappet-faced Vultures; 2 Griffon Vultures and a UAE first ever sighting in the wild of a Cinereous Vulture
  • Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum implements a new graded sand road network in the DDCR as well as the planting of 25 000 indigenous trees.
  • Partnership with Platinum Heritage Luxury Tours & Safaris to provide heritage safaris in open top vintage Land Rovers.
  • As a part of our vegetation monitoring two enclosures are built to exclude ungulates and thereby study the effect of grazing on the natural desert flora.
  • During a baseline Rodent survey, Egyptian Spiny Mouse are capture on Jebel Nazwa, this is a new species for the DDCR.


  • Partnership with Biosphere Expeditions to implement volunteer based conservation program.
  • Removal of the fence surrounding the original Al Maha Reserve (27km²)
  • Partnership with Royal Shaheen Events to provide falconry demonstrations and interactive experiences for tour operators and visitor to the DDCR.


  • Rare sighting of a Golden Eagle in the UAE, present in the DDCR for a week.
  • First sighting Keyhole Glider dragonfly in the UAE
  • Houbara Re-introduction program is started in the DDCR. Initial release of 29 in March and 170 in December.


  • Major rainfall event (196mm)
  • Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum implements the construction of two lakes within the DDCR
  • Comprehensive vegetation survey is carried out as part of the DDCR Biodiversity monitoring program.


  • All domestic livestock are removed from the DDCR


  • Ground fauna baseline study Phase (2)
  • Arabian Oryx are fitted with GPS collars to monitor their movement and utilization of the natural habitat.


  • Three weather stations are installed to record weather data across the DDCR
  • Ground fauna baseline study Phase (1)


  • Seven Camera traps were deployed to gain baseline data on nocturnal and cryptic species within the DDCR
  • Thematic Geographical Information System (GIS) program started whereby all data collected would be geo-referenced and added to our database.


  • A comprehensive Vegetation Baseline Survey is carried out across the DDCR
  • Translocation 41 Arabian Oryx from Al Maha into the north of the DDCR


  • The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR), an area of 225 square kilometres, 4.7% of Dubai’s total land area, was created to protect the last remaining pristine desert landscape of this forward thinking emirate.


  • Resort managers began a major environmental audit of the surrounding areas. Researchers were tasked with exploring current and potential threats to endangered species and disappearing desert habitats, as well as the long-term quality of Dubai’s desert tourism experience.
  • The Al Maha management submitted proposals to the government on the formation of a formal national park.
  • The proposal was accepted and the Dubai Conservation Board was established.
  • The Board established a detailed constitution and all the necessary regulatory measures were in place for the physical creation of the Reserve. Emirates airline entered into a five year sponsorship deal worth over US$ 14 million. Additional funds of US$7 million were set aside by the Dubai Government to create the initial infrastructure and facilitate the start-up work.


  • The Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa was established with a 27km² conservation reserve, for the protection of desert fauna and flora.
  • 70 Arabian oryx are re-introduced 6000 indigenous trees and shrubs are planted.