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Breeding & Relocation

The late ruler and founder of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan started his visionary ‘Greening of the Desert’ programme on Sir Bani Yas Island. His aim was to make the UAE’s deserts more suitable for human settlement and provide a haven for Arabia’s endangered wildlife.

To this day, Sheikh Zayed’s legacy is very much alive on Sir Bani Yas Island. It is an incredible reserve for some of the rarest and endangered species. The breeding programmes that were put in place have successfully increased the populations of many of the endangered animals that were originally brought to the island, with some, including the Arabian Oryx, being nurtured back from the verge of extinction. They are now sufficient in numbers and are released onto the mainland on a regular basis.

Originally bred in captivity, the Island’s Cheetahs and Striped Hyenas have been successfully re-wilded (learnt how to hunt for themselves); and have had cubs of their own. 

In addition, several non-indigenous animals were relocated as a result of successful breeding programmes including Blackbuck, Emu, Gemsbok and Eland. To control the various populations several mechanisms, such as separation of the sexes, are used.

As for the marine life that populate the Island’s stunning waters, there is an eight kilometre no fishing zone that was put into place while boating activities are carefully managed to conserve sensitive marine habitats and increase endangered marine species of mammals, turtles and birds.

Here at Sir Bani Yas Island, we actively monitor our wildlife and participate in international conservation programmes; striving to continuously enhance their quality of life and ensure sustainability in the conservation programme.

Success Stories