A number of experts and institutions in Qatar have collaborated to participate in a conservation project to save and protect dhub lizards, under threat from new constriction plans in Ras Laffan.
The lizards had dug their burrows in an area where a safety fence is under construction, and so experts decided to collect the reptiles, examine them for scientific research and then relocate them in a safe area away from the fence.
The project was initiated by Ras Laffan City’s head of environment, Mohammad al-Beldawi and head of safety, Jackie Wessels, as well as the head of biodiversity at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), Aurora Castilla.
Castilla explained to Gulf Times that the project was launched to try and prevent the deaths of a large number of lizards, and to help develop a better understanding of the species. “I was very lucky to meet an enthusiastic and active team in Ras Laffan who are very interested in wildlife conservation,” she said, adding “they told me about the new fence that was going to be constructed and offered me their help to try saving the lizards for their protection and for the benefit of science. So, I decided to start the study there.”
“We are exploring the size of the colonies and the burrows where lizards live, and also identifying some morphological and physiological characteristics of the dhubs that live in Ras Laffan,” she said. Castilla said that there seems to be a large number of dhubs in the Ras Laffan area, and that populations have also been found in Wakrah and the north-west of the country.
She described the project as important “because we need to protect our environment by protecting the native wild species, and to protect these species we need to know them, their habitats and their needs very well.” Although she is unsure of the future of this particular project, she believes that it could continue for some time.
“I suppose that this project could continue for a while as there are a lot of great scientists at Qatar University, the Ministry of the Environment and probably in other Centres, which are also very interested in protecting the Qatari environment,” she added.
She thanked everyone involved in the project, including the director of the QEERI, Rabi Mokhtar, QF and the team at Ras Laffan City.
source: Gulf Times
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