Sharjah / WAM
H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, on Sunday opened Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre in Kalba City, one of the emirate’s leading projects spearheaded by the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) that aims to protect endangered animals found in the UAE’s diverse mountain environment as well as the natural landscape itself.
The opening of this centre reflects Sharjah’s and the EPAA’s commitment to protecting animals in the UAE that are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and encouraging them to breed.
Once HH Sheikh Sultan completed the ribbon cutting ceremony, he was given a tour of the centre to learn more about its various sections and services, observe the animals in their new habitat, and admire the early artistic representations of the region’s animal population, otherwise known as petroglyphs, engraved on the surface of the surrounding Hajar mountains. Following this, he listened to a brief by Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the EPAA in Sharjah, about the importance of the centre and the role of Sharjah in protecting these animals.
Commenting on the centre’s opening, Al Suwaidi, said, “We are delighted to open this new centre in Kalba City, which comes in line with HH Sheikh Sultan’s vision to offer a suitable environment for endangered animals and to ensure their sustainability and existence for future generations. We hope that this centre will become a popular destination for people who want to enjoy and learn more about these majestic animals and the UAE’s rich biodiversity.”
Al Hefaiyah Centre specialises in habitat preservation and restoration, education, rehabilitation, and captive breeding and research. It hosts thirty different mountain species including the Arabian Tahr, Wolf, Caracal and Leopard, taking into account the delicate ecosystem of each.
On the side-lines of the opening, guests also had the opportunity to visit the centre’s colourful art gallery that portrays the lives of the endangered mountain animals through different mediums. The exhibit was designed and produced exclusively for the centre by various artists from the UAE, Tehran and London, and lends visitors insight into the value of the centre’s goals to help near-extinct species in the UAE.