Dubai, UAE, October 4, 2023 – In celebration of World Animal Day, the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) has inaugurated its new Visitor Centre, providing immersive experiences for visitors to explore the UAE’s first National Park. The centre offers a unique opportunity to discover the native flora and fauna of the UAE, understand the conservation efforts in place for the fragile ecosystem, and much more.
Ali Mubarak Al Soori, Executive Vice President of Facilities, Projects Management, Group Procurement, and Supply Chain at the Emirates Group, expressed enthusiasm about enhancing visitors’ experiences at the DDCR. He emphasized the importance of raising awareness about habitat conservation and the Reserve’s achievements. As the winter season approaches, the centre aims to welcome guests and inspire an appreciation for Dubai’s wildlife and nature.
The DDCR Visitor Centre is divided into five distinct areas, each curated to provide valuable insights:
- Reception Hall: This welcoming space introduces visitors to the centre and showcases impressive wall photography and ceiling imagery featuring the Arabian Oryx in their natural habitat. An interactive kiosk allows visitors to explore a map of the Reserve and discover where elusive wildlife like the Arabian Fox have been spotted.
- Cultural Hall: This area highlights the DDCR’s journey, from its establishment in 1999 as the UAE’s pioneer for protected areas to its current status as a successful model for habitat conservation, managed tourism, education, and scientific research. Cultural elements related to the UAE’s desert heritage, including falconry, date farming, and camel farming, are also featured.
- AV Hall: Often referred to as a “mini cinema,” this space allows visitors to watch a beautifully produced feature film providing an overview of the Reserve.
- Habitat Hall: This section dispels the misconception that deserts are barren by showcasing the diverse indigenous flora and fauna of the Reserve through 3D-printed models, holographic displays, interactive kiosks, and push-button devices that play bird melodies found in the DDCR. Real-life specimens are also on display for nature enthusiasts.
- Nocturnal Hall: Offering a unique perspective on nightlife in Dubai, this hall employs cutting-edge technology to provide an immersive showcase of the nocturnal wildlife inhabitants of the DDCR.
Visitors can explore the exhibits independently, with life-size replicas of the Arabian Hare providing pre-recorded audio explanations and Oryx hoofprints guiding the way between halls. After touring the halls, visitors can engage in real wildlife spotting or simply enjoy breathtaking views of the open desert from an elevated viewing platform.
Initially, the DDCR Visitor Centre will focus on school groups and visitors participating in safari experiences booked through approved tour operators. Walk-in visitors can also enjoy the exhibits for a nominal entry fee.
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) is the UAE’s first national park, covering an area of 225 square kilometres, which represents approximately 5% of Dubai’s total land area. The Emirates Group has played a pivotal role in supporting the DDCR’s efforts to conserve the desert’s unique habitat and biodiversity. With an investment of over AED 28 million, the Emirates Group has significantly contributed to the protection and rehabilitation of the desert landscape.
Under the supervision of the Dubai Conservation Board (DCB), chaired by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the DDCR has witnessed remarkable achievements. The Reserve has increased the population of Sand Gazelles, Arabian Gazelles, and Arabian Oryx from 230 to over 1,300. Additionally, it has successfully reintroduced 2,800 Houbara, or Macqueen’s Bustard, into the safe environment of the Reserve.
Furthermore, the DDCR boasts the growth of more than 31,000 native trees, including the Ghaf tree, which thrives in the desert’s extreme climate conditions without irrigation.
The new Visitor Centre serves as a testament to the UAE’s commitment to preserving its desert habitat and promoting awareness of its remarkable biodiversity.
For more information, please visit www.ddcr.org.