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Sharjah International Conservation Forum for Arabia’s Biodiversity concludes its activities

SHARJAH: Participants in the 23rd edition of the Sharjah International Conservation Forum for Arabia’s Biodiversity affirmed Sharjah’s leading role in adopting and implementing research and field projects and initiatives aimed at restoring wildlife, reintroducing species to it, reducing the marine stranding, and incorporating genetic science in sustaining the ecosystem and its biodiversity.

This took place at the conclusion of the sessions on the fourth and final day of the forum, which was organised by the Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah (EPAA) at Sharjah Safari from 5th to 8th February, with the participation of more than 200 specialised experts and researchers interested in environmental affairs and studies and sustainability fields, from the UAE, the region, and the world.

In this regard, Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah (EPAA), expressed her thanks to all the participants who were keen to enrich the forum sessions through
scientific discussions, research knowledge, and study results included in the event’s programme.

Al Suwaidi confirmed that under the leadership of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Sharjah always strives to affirm its steadfast interest in supporting efforts to conserve biodiversity and launch projects aimed at protecting the environment and preserving wildlife in the emirate. There is also an emphasis on raising awareness among individuals and community institutions about the dangers and challenges that threaten natural ecosystems, and creating safe havens for terrestrial and marine life, especially rare species that are at risk of extinction. She highlighted the importance of benefiting from the outputs of scientific research and field evaluation results conducted by scientists and environmental researchers, which is what the forum aspires to, achieving remarkable successes since its inception 23 years ago until now.

The sessions of the forum’s fin
al day continued to discuss the topic of marine stranding, which is a natural phenomenon and sometimes difficult to find permanent solutions for. Many of these cases result from diseases or poor nutrition that the animals suffer from, while others fall victim to interactions between wildlife and humans.

The agenda for the fourth day included discussions and presentations regarding the future of conservational genetics and the role of innovative techniques and modern technologies associated with it in protecting endangered species and preserving biodiversity through the sustainability of ecosystems in the Arabian Peninsula. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Kara Dicks.

This was followed by a presentation of a series of case studies related to successful conservation initiatives and a review of insights about the challenges and opportunities in the field, as well as how these technologies can be efficiently and effectively integrated into existing practices to preserve the environment.

The workshops conduc
ted on the fourth day of the event focused on highlighting initiatives and experiences that have been successfully accomplished in the region, including a working paper presented by Dr. Hind Al Ameri and Anne Bourbon regarding the rescue and Marine turtle rehabilitation in Abu Dhabi, and on his part, Professor Ada Natoli discussed the updated status of marine mammals that have been stranded in the United Arab Emirates, in a group discussion moderated by Professor Gerhard Steenkamp.

Several researchers, including Fadi Yaghmour, Dr. Thierry Hoareau, Dr. Loïc Lesuper, Dr. Sandra Knutson, and Meera Al Hamadi, shared the results of their studies concerning the environmental pollutants discovered in turtles and other marine species from the region, including toxins and plastics. Dr. Fatin Samara presented the results of evaluating environmental pollutants in marine organisms from the waters of Sharjah.

Attendees witnessed a practical demonstration on how to dissect sea turtles after death and collect their sample
s, where participants used the test data collected and prepared on the third day to record all the required samples.

The final day’s sessions concluded with a discussion led by Johannes Els and Dr. Susannah Philip, which included an overview of sea snakes, focusing on the rescue and rehabilitation of these unique creatures, including safe handling and the necessary medical care.

Source: Emirates News Agency