Moecc Urges People To Help Protect Qatar's Natural Heritage

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) M Mazharul Haque | The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: The myna bird is an invasive species that poses significant threats to Qatar's native wildlife and agricultural crops. Understanding its behaviour, there is a need for effective conservation efforts, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MoECC) said on its X account recently asking people to join its campaign against invasive species in Qatar.

“Join us in our mission to protect Qatar's environment by staying informed and supporting our initiatives. Together, we can preserve our natural heritage!” said the Ministry.

MoECC has taken several initiatives to protect Qatar's biodiversity and its natural environment, including its fight against invasive species that threaten the country's ecosystem.

The myna, native to Southeast Asia, has been identified as one of the world's most invasive species and ranks third among the top 100 invasive species, posing a significant threat to Qatar's ecosystem.

The MoECC had reported earlier the trapping of approximately 8,800 mynas as part of its strategy to preserve the country's ecological balance.

An infographic circulated on the Ministry's social media platforms highlighted the scope of the campaign, with 4,000 birds caught from January to April 2024 across 20 different locations across the country.

From November 2022 to October 2023, the Ministry caught 3,000 mynas.

Recognised for its aggressive behaviour towards other bird species and its detrimental impact on biodiversity, it is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as one of the world's most aggressively invasive avian species.

The species also poses risks to agricultural crops and carries diseases such as avian influenza and malaria, which could potentially lead to the extinction of some local bird species, according to a study in 2009.

The MoECC developed a plan in 2023 with many entities, including the Environmental Directorate of the Qatar Armed Forces, Aspire Zone Foundation, Qatar University, and the Ministry of Municipality to catch mynas.

This strategy involves defining roles, appointing coordinators from all participating entities, and establishing a fieldwork team for the monitoring, control, and disposal of the birds.

The plan also includes conducting a study to monitor and inventory the exotic and invasive species and their impact on local fauna. It proposes initiating local and international efforts to develop solutions for capturing and controlling the myna population.

Director of Wildlife Development Department at MoECC Mohamed Ahmed Al Khanji during a workshop highlighted Qatar's conservation efforts. The country has formulated laws to preserve the ecosystem.

The conservation programmes include lizard conservation projects and breeding of endangered animals such as Arabian oryx, sand gazelle, ostrich, bustard and wild rabbit.

The MoECC has released a substantial number of Al Reem deer in the open natural reserves since 2002, in addition to releasing the Arabian oryx in Al Reem Biosphere Reserve.

Al Khanji underscored the efforts made by MoECC in the sea turtle protection project at Qatar's coasts since 2002 and the ban of camel grazing on the natural vegetation.

Qatar boasts a unique and diverse range of flora and fauna.

Despite its arid climate, the country is home to a variety of habitats, including mangroves, sand dunes, coral reefs and mangrove swamps. With approximately 1,900 documented wild species in Qatar, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, the biodiversity in this region is remarkable.

The flora consists of 371 species of flowering plants. Particularly noteworthy is the country's marine habitats, which boast an incredible array of species.

With 995 marine species identified, Qatar's waters are a treasure trove of biodiversity.

Terrestrial habitats in Qatar are equally important, supporting a wide range of species. Among the endangered species that call Qatar home are the Arabian oryx, greater spotted eagle, and corn crake.

Qatar has a diverse range of terrestrial species, including eight species of mammals, 242 species of birds, 29 reptilian species, one amphibian, and 228 species of invertebrates. These unique creatures contribute to the rich terrestrial biodiversity in Qatar.

The biodiversity inventory reveals that approximately 78% of terrestrial species in Qatar are considered rare, emphasizing the importance of protecting and conserving these precious organisms.

Among the endangered mammals in Qatar, the Arabian oryx stands out as a critically endangered species that requires urgent attention for its preservation.

Furthermore, Qatar serves as a crucial habitat for migratory bird species, enhancing the country's terrestrial biodiversity. These migratory birds play a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance and are a testament to the significance of Qatar as a sanctuary for avian diversity.


The Peninsula

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