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Porcupines found in Fujairah
September 13, 2018
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FUJAIRAH: Following on from last month’s announcement by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, EAD, of the discovery of a species of porcupine in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi, it has now been announced that the elusive species is also present in the Wadi Wurrayah National Park, WWNP, in Fujairah.

A paper just published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa entitled ‘A first confirmed record of the Indian Crested Porcupine Hystrix indica in the United Arab Emirates’, reports that pictures of porcupines were taken at two locations in the park on three separate occasions in 2015 and 2016. The paper reports that “Long-term occupancy of porcupines was confirmed via social surveys conducted in four villages bordering WWNP. These findings represent a previously unrecorded and most likely isolated subpopulation of H. indica.”

Prior to the publication of the paper, the presence of porcupines in the UAE was only known from the announcement by EAD last month that a live animal had been photographed by a camera trap in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra region in December last year. The original EAD identification of the animal as a related species, Hystrix cristata, rather than Hystrix indica, is now believed to have been erroneous.

With the Wadi Wurrayah sightings dating to 2015 and 2016, these now stand as the first-recorded sightings in the UAE.

With a distribution throughout southwest and central Asia and in much of the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the Indian Crested Porcupine is listed as being of ‘Least Concern’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The new and isolated records in the UAE may, however, qualify it to be listed as ‘Threatened’ at a national level.

WAM
 

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