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Natural UAE

CLICK FOR SECTION MAP Wildlife reserves

Mushrif National Park, just a few kilometres from Dubai city, is a habitat reserve maintained by the Dubai Municipality for public recreation. It is a 600 hectare reserve of natural woodland containing mature ghaf (Prosopis cineraria) and Acacia scrub and shows clearly the impact of grazing on unenclosed areas. The density of invertebrates, butterflies being particularly conspicuous, and birds is extremely high. Amongst the latter are included such characteristic species as resident troupes of Arabian babbler (Turdoides squamiceps) and summer visiting and nesting yellow-throated sparrow (Petronia xanthocollis). Striated scops owl (Otus brucei) is a speciality Middle Eastern species with several pairs breeding The abundant nocturnal insect life forms their prey.

Khor Dubai was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1985 following ornithological studies which indicated the true international significance of the site to waterfowl. Almost a quarter of the estimated Middle Eastern wintering of broad-billed sandpiper (Limicola falcinellus) was found at that time, with the population of a further eight species exceeding 1 per cent of that of the migration flyway. Attempts, unsuccessful thus far, have been made to encourage greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) to breed. The sight of these birds against a backdrop of modern-day Dubai is a reminder of the place of nature in our lives and vice versa.

The acclaimed Emirates Golf Club (EGC), Dubai, the UAE's first ever grass course, was constructed in 1989 and very soon after major international tournaments were being played there. The European Professional Golfers Association tour started its season with the 'Dubai Desert Classic' at the EGC until 1998, before switching to the newer Creek Golf Club, also in Dubai, for the next two years. This major event on the annual sporting calendar continues to attract many top names to compete, Els, Olazabal, Montgomery and Norman among them. The 2001 Desert Classic will again be played at the EGC.

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