x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Wildlife enthusiasts offered free places on conservation trip

New scholarship programme will give Emiratis a chance to carry out conservation work with local wildlife.

DUBAI // A new scholarship programme will give Emiratis a chance to restore their ties with nature.

The opportunity will allow nature enthusiasts to spend a week at a desert campsite to carry out conservation work with oryx, wildcats and other species.

The project is being run by Biosphere Expeditions and will take place at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve from January 15 to 23.

A place on the trip, which would normally cost US$1,490 (Dh5,513), will be provided free thanks to funding from the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants.

Both Emiratis and UAE residents may apply, though Matthias Hammer, the founder and executive director of Biosphere Expeditions, says the scheme provides the perfect opportunity for young Emiratis to reconnect with their outdoor heritage.

"Young people with an interest or career in conservation can apply to us saying why they want to participate in the expedition and then we just take one on the expedition as a normal participant for free," he said. "They can get experience, get exposed to experts in the field, and get some field experience."

He said the successful applicant would have a chance to see what the Middle East was like before all the changes that followed the discovery of oil.

"The reserve is a way for them to connect with nature. Fifty years ago all that people here were doing was connected with nature, they were doing camels and dates and fishing. Within a couple of generations the link has been lost completely. It would be good if we could enable someone to restore that link."

Applicants must be over the age of 18, speak fluent English and be able to either demonstrate a genuine interest in conservation biology, or have a job in the field.

After the expedition the successful applicant will be expected to give talks about his or her experience.

In the future, Biosphere Expeditions also hopes to run one-day seminars for journalism students to introduce them to the role of the media in relation to conservation issues.



* Visit www.biosphere-expeditions.org/scholarships. The closing date for applications is December 19.