Abu Dhabi, April 23, 2018: The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) premiered its groundbreaking documentary BACK TO THE WILD depicting the Abu Dhabi led Scimitar-horned Oryx Reintroduction Programme, last night at the Emirates Palace to an audience of VIPs, government officials, ambassadors and ministers in honor of Earth Day.
BACK TO THE WILD, was produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Middle East. The documentary follows the journey of Nya, a Scimitar-horned Oryx and the rest of her herd in what has been described as the world’s most ambitious mammalian species reintroduction programme.
The Scimitar-horned Oryx was declared extinct-in-the-wild by the IUCN in 2000. Inspired by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and led by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the programme aims to create a self-sustaining herd of over 500 Scimitar-horned Oryx in the 77,950-km2reserve in its former range in Chad. The programme has been enthusiastically supported by EAD’s partners; The Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, The Sahara Conservation Fund, The Smithsonian Institution and The Zoological Society of London.
Following the screening, a panel discussion was held with H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD’s Secretary General; Siddick Abdelkerim Haggar, the Minister of Environment and Fisheries of Chad; John Newby, the Chief Executive Officer of Sahara Conservation Fund, Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at EAD and Justin Chuven, Unit Head – Ex- Situ Terrestrial Conservation Programmes at EAD.
Speaking at the premiere, H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak said: “The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the UAE, was considered one of the world’s greatest conservationists. His environmental vision long preceded the present-day global conservationists’ movement and his passion for nature was unparalleled. Under his leadership, some of the most impactful wildlife release programmes in the world became a reality. Examples of this include the Sheikh Mohammed Arabian Oryx Release Programme and the Sheikh Zayed Falcon Release Programme, both of which EAD has been implementing for several years. The Scimitar-horned Oryx Reintroduction Programme is yet another initiative inspired by his legacy and today, it is regarded as the most ambitious mammalian species reintroduction programme in the world.”
“This programme highlights what can be achieved through commitment, dedication and cross-border cooperation to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable species. It is our hope that, through this documentary, others will be inspired to take up more species reintroduction efforts. It is also our hope that the programme’s working practices; infrastructure and innovative technology solutions may directly influence similar species reintroduction efforts across the world in the future. We are very proud that now,in Abu Dhabi, we have the scientific expertise and experience to lead conservation efforts of this magnitude at the global level,” Al Mubarak added.
The 30-minute documentary will air to the public on factual entertainment channel, Quest Arabiya, on April 28 at 7.30pm