The centre, which consists of over 100 different animals, out of which 50 per cent are endangered, is currently working with international centres on exchanging endangered animals, with the aim of increasing their population globally. Image Credit: RAVINDRANATH/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre (ADWC) has established a loan scheme which provides breeding stock to other centres across the UAE, to save critically endangered animals, whose numbers have dwindled to mere hundreds in the wild.

To protect their animals' rare and unique existence the ADWC has started its initiative, by sending their only male Arabian leopard, to a centre located in Sharjah, where the leopard will be introduced to females of his kind.

As part of the loan agreement, as soon as the Arabian leapords mate, 50 per cent of their cubs will return to the ADWC, where further breeding will continue.

According to Ronel Barcellos, Manager of the ADWC, there are only 280 Arabian leopards left in the world.

"Our aim is to protect the habitat of these rare animals, through various conservation programmes. We won't stop breeding till we reach our hundreds. Once the numbers come up, I'd like to encourage other centres across the UAE, to work with us, and help introduce a new bloodline to these rare big cats," she said.

The centre, which consists of over 100 different animals, out of which 50 per cent are endangered, is currently working with international centres on exchanging endangered animals, with the aim of increasing their population numbers globally.

Also rare due to poaching and habitat loss, an estimated 200 to 400 Siberian White Tigers are currently now living in the wild. "Tiger products are thoughts to have powerful medical properties and are sold in the majority of East Asian countries, that's why the Siberian white Tiger is facing extinction," said the ADWC manager.

The only two Siberian White Tigers at the centre are currently breeding, and Cleopatra (the female white tiger) is expected to give birth within two months. Barcellos has names for all the animals at the centre, who seem responsive once their names are called out.

"The Siberian White Tigers are the rarest, biggest and most endangered species, and once Cleopatra and our male Siberian tiger known as Anthony, deliver an extra two to three cubs, I intend on breeding more tigers, and will continue to do that till they grow in number," said Barcellos.

"We don't use enhancers or chemical products to encourage pregnancy among the females. We simply offer them a good relaxed life as much as possible, and leave them on their own. It's human interference that ruins everything for those animals, and that's the last thing we need to do," she said.

The Arabian wolves at the centre have recently produced four pups.

"There are only 400 Arabian wolves left in the world, people hunt them down, and shoot them. They don't have their own natural space in the wild any more. Once we start to breed large numbers, I intend on donating some to other centres, so that we encourage their breed to flourish once again," said Barcellos.

In addition, the African lions have recently added four new cubs to their family. The sole female jaguar will also get introduced to her mate soon, after spending a solitary life for months.

New home

Sandy is a two and a half year old Collie cross Saluki, who was witnessed roaming the streets of Abu Dhabi just 18 months ago. In spite of being perfectly healthy, the homeless street dog was about to be euthanised, till she was given a new home at the ADWLC, where she now comfortably resides, alongside 45 other saved dogs.

She still has trust issues, and needs time to accommodate to a new family, but is known for her shiny nature. If you can offer her comfort, safety and a good life, Sandy is up for an adoption.

For further details you can send your questions to: wrsmuts@emirates.net.ae.

Assistance

 

If you wish to help the animals, the centre is constantly looking for volunteers and donations to help provide shelter for newly-rescued animals.

Pre-arranged tour guides for more than 15 people are also available for Dh25. The money from the tours will be spent on the animals.

- If you wish to find out more, please contact Ronel Barcellos at: wrsmuts@emirates.net.ae with reference to the Gulf News article.