During the 1940’s – 1960’s the Arabian Oryx was hunted to the brink of extinction and was declared endangered by the 1970’s. Dubai's then Ruler, the late Sheikh Rashid, trans-located the last remaining oryx to the USA, where they were bred under secure conditions.
In 1997, the then Crown Prince, now Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, funded the first reintroduction of this symbolic animal to the desert at Al Maha (Al Maha is the Arabic for “oryx”). Today, approximately 300 oryx, the largest free-roaming herd in Arabia, are a testament to the knowledge and care shown by the team of conservation specialists.
Al Maha is home to numerous species in additional to oryx, such as Arabian and sand gazelles, Rueppell's fox, Arabian red fox, hares, and the Ethiopian hedgehog.
As you explore the dune landscape it’s quite possible that you will spot the delicate footprints in the sand of nocturnal gerbils and jirds, an amazing array of lizards, 'sand-fish' and geckos, side-winding vipers and the tiny Arabian toad-headed agama.
Overhead, stately birds of prey such as ospreys, falcons, owls and eagles are seen daily, in addition to doves, warblers, colourful parakeets and the crested hoopoe, amongst others, which fill the wide skies with their flight and song.