04
October
2023
|
09:10 AM
Europe/Amsterdam

New visitor centre opens at Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Immersive experiences for visitors to the UAE’s first National Park

Dubai, UAE, 4 October 2023 – Visitors to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) can now enjoy an immersive introduction to the UAE’s indigenous flora and fauna, learn about the Reserve, its work to conserve this beautiful but fragile ecosystem, and more, at the new Visitor Centre which opens today in time for World Animal Day.

Ali Mubarak Al Soori, the Emirates Group’s Executive Vice President – Facilities, Projects Management & Group Procurement & Supply Chain, said: “We are pleased to enhance the experience of visitors to the DDCR, and help promote awareness of habitat conservation and the achievements of the Reserve. With the busy winter season coming, we look forward to welcome guests to the visitor centre and fostering in them an appreciation for Dubai’s wildlife and nature.”

The DDCR Visitor Centre features carefully curated content from the Reserve’s conservation experts in 5 distinct areas:

  • The reception hall is an inviting open space that welcomes visitors into the centre, where a massive wall and stretch ceiling photography highlights the Arabian Oryx in their natural habitat. An interactive kiosk enables visitors to explore a map of the Reserve and discover where elusive wildlife like the Arabian Fox have been spotted.
  • The cultural hall showcases the DDCR’s key milestones from its inception in 1999 as the pioneer for protected areas in the UAE, to its current standing as a successful model for habitat conservation, managed tourism, and education and scientific research. Cultural elements closely linked to the UAE’s desert heritage - like falconry, date farming and camel farming are also featured as part of the DDCR’s history in this hall.
  • The AV hall is a “mini cinema” where visitors can watch a short, beautifully-produced feature film to get an overview of the Reserve.
  • Dispelling the misconception that deserts are barren, the habitat hall features the diverse indigenous flora and fauna of the Reserve, via true-to-life 3D-printed models, holographic displays, interactive kiosks, and push-button devices which play the melodies of the various bird species found inside the DDCR. There are also real-life specimens on display for keen nature enthusiasts.
  • Providing a whole new perspective on nightlife in Dubai, a dome display using cutting-edge technology in the nocturnal hall provides an immersive showcase of the nocturnal wildlife inhabitants of the DDCR.

View a video tour of the DDCR Visitor Centre.

Enabling visitors to self-explore the exhibits, life-size replicas of the Arabian Hare placed throughout the Centre provide pre-recorded audio explanations, and Oryx hoofprints on the ground guide visitors on their journey from one hall to the next. After touring the halls, visitors can try wildlife spotting for real, or simply enjoy magnificent views of the open desert from an elevated viewing platform.

Initially, the DDCR Visitor Centre will focus on school groups and visitors arriving as part of safari experiences booked via one of the reserve’s approved tour operators – Arabian Adventures, Sand Sherpa, Travco, 57 Heritage, Nara Desert Escapes, and Platinum Heritage.  Walk-in visitors may also enjoy the exhibits in the centre for a nominal entry fee of AED 35 for Adults and AED 25 for children.

 

About the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR)

Stemming from the Dubai Government’s commitment to preserving the emirate’s unique desert habitat and biodiversity, the DDCR is the UAE’s first national park, spanning an area of 225 square kilometres which is roughly 5% of the total land area of Dubai.

Since the Reserve’s establishment in 2002, the Emirates Group has supported this important initiative by operating the reserve and managing its vast facilities on behalf of the Government of Dubai.

The Emirates Group has invested more than AED 28 million in the Reserve to fund and support the conservation of the natural desert landscape and its indigenous fauna and flora. The protected inland desert habitat is currently home to over 560 different species of plants and trees, birds, mammals, reptiles and arthropods - more than double the original 150 indigenous species which thrived in the area prior to DDCR’s efforts. The Reserve’s effective management strategies have helped promote the natural processes that lead to rewilding of the desert habitat and its rehabilitation.

The DDCR operates under the supervision of the Dubai Conservation Board (DCB) which is chaired by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Since the inception of the DDCR, the reserve has been immensely successful in growing the population of Sand Gazelles, Arabian Gazelles and the Arabian Oryx, from 230 initially to over 1,300 today. A further 171 Arabian Oryx have been relocated to other protected areas in the UAE. Also amongst its achievements are the re-introduction of 2,800 Houbara, or Macqueen’s Bustard, which roam freely within the safe environment of the Reserve.

Over 31,000 native trees flourish in the vast area, which include the Ghaf tree, native to the desert and known for its ability to survive its extreme climate conditions without irrigation.

For more information: www.ddcr.org

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