Al Ain: The UAE’s first game resort that is coming up near Al Ain will not allow the hunting of endangered species like the Arabian Oryx.
The project’s developer has promised full compliance with environmental laws. “I have received hundreds of calls, particularly from the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, inquiring about the project,” Tariq Al Sherif, managing director of Mourouj Hotels and Resorts, said. “The facility also has not yet obtained a licence… the owners are in the process of getting one from the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi.”
The project has sparked concern among conservationists following reports in a section of the media
“Oryx are a endangered species and are very much protected under the UAE laws,” Al Sherif said. “I can assure you that the resort would be 100 per cent in conformity with the environment laws, with only the legally allowed animals,” he noted.
The resort will open its doors in September in Al Ain, attracting hunting enthusiasts from all over the GCC and the world, said Al Sherif.
Located near Remah, a town to the west of Al Ain, the resort will have 15 royal villas with separate swimming pools, jacuzzis and saunas.
The resort, said Al Sherif, will operate on a seasonal basis from September to April and attract people not only from within the GCC countries, but also from the US and Europe. Hunting enthusiasts normally travel to South Africa and some Asian countries to enjoy the pastime, he said.
Safety and security aspects of this VIP resort had been given special attention and people would love to enjoy their stay.
A heritage village will also come up adjacent to the game resort at a later stage, offering chalets, rooms and other facilities, said the managing director.
The Oryx is valued in Arabian culture and heritage. The Arabian Oryx became extinct in the wild in the early 1960s. Some of the last surviving Oryx were captured shortly before this and captive breeding commenced.
The late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father, was among those involved in saving the Oryx at the very outset.
Abu Dhabi has one of the largest reserves of this species in captivity. In April 2007, the Al Ain Zoo, operating under the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, released a number of Arabian Oryx into their natural habitat as part of its reintroduction programme.