Published: 19:01 January 16, 2018 WAM SMALLMEDIUMLARGE Dubai: A groundbreaking natural desert reserve covering 10 per cent of Dubai’s total area has been launched.His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched Al Marmoom Reserve on Tuesday.The first open desert reserve for public will house 20 vital projects, one million saplings and 40 lakes, contributing greatly to environment, tourism and sports, as well as the quality of life in the UAE.The reserve, the largest of its kind in the Arab world, will be home to thousands of birds and animals.The Marmoom Reserve project, the first unfenced desert conservation reserve in the country, will span 10 per cent of Dubai’s total area and will introduce more than 20 environmental, cultural and sports-related initiatives, sponsored by nine Dubai government agencies.Covering over 40 hectares of shrub land and fertile area, the reserve will be home to over 204 species of native birds, 158 species of migratory birds, and over 10km of lakes, encompassing Al Qudra Lakes.The new project will include 10 animal and bird observation platforms, star and sunset observation decks, areas for yoga, an outdoor theatre that can accommodate 350 people, and it will be powered by a 5,000 megawatt solar power complex. By 2030, it will host more than 20 annual sporting events, which will attract an estimated 20,000 participants. Its cycling tracks will be the longest in any desert anywhere in the world. محمد بن راشد يطلق #محمية_المرموم في #دبي .. أكبر مشروع سياحي بيئي صحراوي على المستوى العربيhttps://t.co/OBAVjffzic pic.twitter.com/vEGfwj7KvA— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) January 16, 2018 Shaikh Mohammad said, “Preserving and investing in the environment means preserving and investing in one of our most important assets. The Marmoom Reserve is an environmental, tourist and sporting addition to life in the UAE.”He continued, “The desert is beautiful and inspirational; it provides a peaceful shelter to plants, birds and people. Our goal is to provide a fertile and robust environment for plants, a natural reserve for animals, and an important destination for tourists and families.“When nine government agencies work as a team, the result will be exceptional, as reflected in the Marmoom Reserve.”This project reflects Dubai’s development goals to preserve the local environment, including the nature of the desert, and to enhance its aesthetic look, as well as provide a natural habitat for threatened wildlife through natural reserves.Al Marmoom is one of the largest protected areas in Dubai, spanning over 10 per cent of the emirate’s total area. It will be home to 26 species of reptiles, nine mammal species, and 39 species of plants. It provides a sanctuary for 19 species of endangered animals and birds. It has the highest concentration of large flamingos in a desert region in the country, with 300 to 500 birds. It will also welcome 158 species of migratory birds every year, hosting them along 10 sq km of wetland.It contains one of the richest Houbara Bustard colonies in the region, and is home to one of the largest Arabian gazelle herds in the UAE.The Marmoom Reserve is also the site of the important Saruq Al Hadid archaeological site, which dates back over 3,000 years to the Iron Age.The reserve will host more than 20 projects and environmental, recreational, sports, tourism and educational programmes that will engage people in unique experiences throughout the year. In the reserve, there will be more than a dozen wildlife and bird observation platforms, star and sunset observation decks, yoga practice areas, a theatre that will host various cultural, artistic and recreational performances, and various sports initiatives and challenges.The Dubai Municipality, Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Water and Electricity Authority, Roads and Transport Authority, Media Office, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai SME and Meraas are tasked with establishing and launching the new initiatives and projects.