From: Tafline Laylin, Green Prophet
Published April 8, 2012 02:07 PM

In Dubai, Camels may work to control Mangrove trees

Too many mangroves is not a good thing — at least not at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai, where they were introduced in 1990. So an ecologist at Dubai’s Wildlife Protection office has proposed using camels to trim back the excess canopies that have buried wader feeding areas. Kevin Hyland told The National that camels used to have access to the sanctuary before it was fenced off in 2002, and that reintroducing them would help restore the site's sensitive ecology without disrupting bird life.

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Hyland emphasizes that the camels would be introduced as part of a careful management program, and that they will not be left to run amok.

"The key phrase in the whole proposal is 'managed camel grazing,'" ecologist told the paper. I"t's not, 'let's just chuck in 100 camels, because we don’t want to destroy the mangrove canopy."

According to Hyland, BirdLife International opposed the plan to introduce mangroves to the Ras Al Khor Sanctuary in 1990 as part of a "greening" program, and now, 20 years later, the wildlife protection office and Dubai Municipality are beginning to glean the error of that initiative.

Although spoonbills have proliferated as a result of the invasive mangrove canopies, feeding grounds for certain species have been buried by five meters of mangroves. So now they want to reverse some of the damage.

Instead of employing 20 workers to cut back mangroves, which is likely to scare off spoonbills and other bird species, the camels can munch on the green leaves. And just in case too many mangrove leaves are bad for camels too, the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory will be on hand to monitor the animals.

Camel via Shutterstock.

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